Understanding Child Placement in Wisconsin

Understanding Child Placement in Wisconsin

Latrice Knighton is a member of the Sterling Law Offices partner team and an award-winning divorce attorney, life coach, and speaker. She helps clients resolve their problems by using legal techniques and smart tactics learned through decades of experience as well as helping clients by offering the best practical advice.

by | Jan 3, 2018

Physical placement is the legal term that refers to the times in which a court has ruled a child spends with either parent

When the child is with that parent, the parent has the right and responsibility to make daily decisions regarding the child, such as bed time, extracurricular activities, discipline, social activities, study hours, etc. There are a few standard placement schedules that parents will work off of, but placement schedule vary and are created on a case-by-case basis, outlining specific schedules and needs of the people involved.

During physical placement, the parent who is in charge will be directly responsible for the child's safety, well-being, and care.

What is child placement?

Physical placement refers to the right of the parent to spend time with the children, and the right and responsibility to make, during that placement, routine daily decisions regarding the child’s care, consistent with major decisions.

Under Wisconsin Statute 5767.41(5), the court shall set a placement schedule that allows the child to have meaningful periods of physical placement with each parent and that maximizes the amount of time the child may spend with each parent, taking into account geographic separation and accommodations for different households.

What are the factors that influence child placement?

  • The wishes of the child’s parent or parents, as shown by any stipulation between the parties, any proposed parenting plan or any legal custody or physical placement proposal submitted to the court at trial.
  • The wishes of the child, which may be communicated by the child or through the child’s guardian ad litem or other appropriate professional.
  • The interaction and interpersonal relationships of the child with his or her parent(s), sibling(s), and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  • The amount and quality of time that each parent has spent with the child in the past, any necessary changes to the parents’ custodial roles and any reasonable life-style changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future.
  • The child’s adjustment to the home, school, religion, and community.
  • The child’s age and the developmental and educational needs at different ages.
  • Whether the mental or physical health of a party, minor child, or other person living in a proposed custodial household negatively affects the child’s intellectual. Physical, or emotional well-being.
  • The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child.
  • The availability of public or private child care services.
  • The cooperation and communication between the parties and whether either party unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other party.
  • Whether each party can support the other party’s relationship with the child, including encouraging and facilitation frequent and continuing contact with the child, or whether one party is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child’s continuing relationship with the other party.
  • Whether there is evidence that a party engaged in abuse of the child.
  • Whether a significant other or roommate has a criminal record and there is evidence that the significant other has engaged in abuse of the child or any child or neglected the child or any other child.
  • Whether there is evidence of inter-spousal battery or domestic abuse.
  • Whether either party has or had a significant problem with alcohol or drug abuse.
  • The reports of appropriate professionals if admitted into evidence.
  • Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.

If you are seeking primary placement, please tell your attorney right away. Your attorney will need to know the basis for such request and prepare for an evidentiary hearing if the other parent does not agree to granting you primary placement.


References: Wisconsin Statute 5767.41(5)

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