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 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[1] 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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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you lose your child because of adultery?

If someone cheats on their spouse, that does not mean they give up their rights to custody of their child. One way adultery could lead to less custody or placement is if it is used to show the person abandoned their child. If someone abandoned their child, they could be deemed an unfit parent.

Is kissing adultery legally?

In modern divorce practices, adultery has very little impact on a divorce. Whether the adultery is kissing or something else, the only thing you need to get a divorce is to believe the marriage cannot be fixed.

What's the difference between infidelity and adultery?

Some say infidelity is emotional cheating and adultery is physical cheating. In terms of divorce, how the other person cheated doesn’t affect anything. Whether infidelity or adultery, the main thing is deciding if the marriage can be fixed or not. The greatest impact of either is the harm it causes the other partner.

Does infidelity matter in a divorce settlement?

Infidelity has little impact on a divorce legally. It can be the cause of a divorce and can be the cause of a lot of contention, but it doesn’t impact a judge’s decisions.

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