How Adultery Impacts Child Custody Orders in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. The court will not consider adultery in property division and or alimony. However the court will evaluate if the new relationship is negative for the child, which would impact child custody orders.

When does adultery become a factor in child custody?

The goal of child custody, from the perspective of a family law judge, is to do what is in the best interest of the child. This means the child should be placed into the best possible household to protect his or her mental and physical health, have regular access to an academic education and still have the ability to spend time with both parents. Even in the case that one parent may be unable to afford child support, that parent still legally has the right to see his or her child on scheduled placement dates.

However, in the case of adultery in which a stepparent may put the child in harm's way, the two-year waiting period for child placement may be challenged. Just as adultery must be proven, either parent must be able and willing to prove that the child is being mentally or physically harmed by a stepparent-or a significant other who regularly or occasionally resides with the parent accused of adultery. If this can be proven, a judge may step in to change the terms for child placement.

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