50/50 Custody in Wisconsin

50 50 custody, also know as joint custody, means parents share physical placement of the children and both parents have shared decision making authority regarding major decision about the child. 50/50 custody works well when parents live close to each other making exchanges easy. Parents must also be able to communicate effectively about the child without fighting.

While no two joint custody situations are ever exactly the same, they try to maximize the time the child has with each parent. The specifics of a 50/50 joint custody schedule depends on the work of the parents, the relationship they have with their children and the ages of the children themselves.

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Joint Physical Placement

Joint physical custody (also known as 50/50 placement) refers to where the child is living at a given time as opposed to who has decision-making ability over the child (legal custody). Sometimes referred to as joint physical care, joint physical custody allows the child to frequently live in the home of each parent. In order for joint physical custody to exist, both parents will need to agree on a placement schedule with the approval of the family courts.

Joint physical custody is an extremely popular custody option because it gives the child much more time with each parent.

Although joint physical custody allows both parents to play equal roles in their child's life, it doesn't necessarily mean exactly 50/50 placement time. The court does not clearly define a required amount of time for each parent to spend, and instead looks to maximize time with both parents.

Start Preparing for Co-Parenting

Get your WI parenting plan worksheet here. Reviewing this form is a good way to prepare yourself mentally for the conversations you'll need to have regarding your children.

Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody is another form of shared parenting, this time with the emphasis being on shared decision making over the child. Examples of decisions parents could make together with joint legal custody include religious upbringing, school system, and extracurricular activities they want their child to participate in. In addition to decision-making, it grants each parent the right to access legal and medical records whenever necessary.

All of the rights for joint legal custody fall under “major decisions.” Simple decisions that come up in the child's day-to-day life, like what to pack for lunch or bedtime, can be made without consulting the other parent. These small, non-major decisions lie in the hands of whichever parent has custody at the time it needs to be made. This includes emergencies, such as a parent needing to take the child to the emergency room.

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