Modify Custody Orders in Wisconsin
When circumstances change, get the court to modify the original custody order
Life is pretty unpredictable and circumstances will inevitably change. It's for this very reason that the court can modify a custody order. Keep in mind that the court is unlikely to change your custody order “just because.” You'll have to make a strong case that circumstances directly affecting the child have considerably changed.
Proving a Change in Circumstances
To make a strong case, it's important to understand the types of circumstances the court considers when hearing a petition to modify an order:
- The child's health is at risk due to some sort of negligence on the part of the custodial parent.
- The child has developed psychological problems that can be attributed to the custodial parent.
- The child has developed social problems that can be attributed to the custodial parent.
- Clear evidence of physical or sexual abuse of the child.
- Neglect in various forms, including leaving the child home alone, not providing adequate care, or improper supervision over the child.
- If the custodial parent has a live-in significant other that is a negative influence on the child or exposes the child to harm or danger.
- Decline in the children's performance in school or extra-curricular activities.
- Imprisonment of the custodial parent.
What WILL NOT Work in Court
Before you spend the time and resources attempting to modify child custody, it's important to understand the following common examples are unlikely to change a custody order:
- Failure to allow visitation to the noncustodial If you are not receiving visitation rights that were agreed upon in the original custody hearing, courts can reinforce the original agreement. But the court will not change the custody agreement for this reason.
- Change of circumstances for the noncustodial Just because your circumstances have improved, it hasn't changed the well-being of the child and the circumstances surrounding the custodial parent are unchanged.
- Being behind in child support payments could lead to the court taking that into consideration when considering child custody modification in the other parent's favor.
- If the custodial parent has legally moved the child to another state and hasn't violated custody agreements, the court won't factor it into your custody change case.
Types of Child Custody in Wisconsin
Other Child Custody Options
Sometimes referred to as divided custody, alternating custody occurs when the child lives with one parent for a semester or several months of a year and then spends time living with the other parent for another extended period of time. The length of stay with each parent is not necessarily proportionate or relative to how long the child previously spent with the other parent.
During these stays, the parent with whom the child is currently living with is the provider for that child and oversees all responsibility of the child.
Shared custody is a pretty common custody model. It occurs when the child is with one parent for a set amount of time and then with the other parent for a similar amount of time.
Unlike alternating custody, both parents the responsibilities of the child. So even if the child is not presently spending time with you, your rights as a parent are never minimized or taken away from you.
Bird's Nest Custody
Bird's nest custody removes the burden of going from one parents home to the other. In this custody setting, the parent's share a residency where the child will always reside. The parents then alternate who stays at that residence and when.
This custody option provides stability for the child and allows them to have the feeling of always having a home regardless of which parent is staying there with them at the time.
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