How to Get Custody of Your Sibling in Wisconsin

If your parents are unfit to have custody and placement of your sibling, the court will give guardianship to a family member such as you, their older sibling. Being a legal guardian is not visitation, it is closer to custody. The court can give guardianship to an older sibling if it is in the child’s best interest.

Is your minor sibling in an unsafe or unhealthy situation with their parent or parents? If so, it may be in their best interest for you to become their legal guardian and get guardianship of them.

The Wisconsin court system wants children to be raised by an individual who can ensure they have good physical, social, and emotional health. When a parent is not able to care for their child, that child needs help, and you might be the best person to provide that help.

Custody Rights of Older Siblings

Custody is a word used to describe a parent’s legal ability to make important decisions for a child. When a sibling is given major decision-making rights, that is called guardianship. Guardianship also includes placement which covers where the child lives and who takes care of them day-to-day.

Filing for Guardianship

The person who wants guardianship of a child needs to file all the necessary forms. The paperwork needed for guardianship includes the initial petition, the nomination of a guardian, the statement of the guardian, and a few more documents.

The petition begins the case to provide the initial information. The nomination recommends a person to become the guardian. And the statement is where the proposed guardian agrees to take on guardianship.

Types of Guardianship a Sibling Can Get

There are four types of guardianship. The court will give a different type of guardianship order, depending on how long you need to have guardianship of your sibling for.

  • Emergency Guardianship: Ordered for immediate needs such as a parent getting into an accident.
  • Temporary Guardianship: Ordered for issues that have a concrete end point like a parent being imprisoned for a short time.
  • Full Guardianship: Ordered as a long-term solution for when the parents should not get custody back, and this lasts until the child turns 18.
  • Limited Guardianship: This is a long-term option where the parent or parents can still make some decisions for the child.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (262) 221-8123 now!

How the Court Makes Guardianship Decisions

The court’s job in a guardianship case is to assign the child a guardian who will support them and foster a positive long-term relationship. To do this, the court looks at three key things: the best interest of the child, the guardian ad litem’s recommendation, and the child’s preferences.

The child’s preference is one of the most important factors the courts look at. The court will try to give guardianship to the person the child wishes because usually the child wishes for what is in their own best interest. However, the court determines the child’s best interest, so they have the final say.

For more information on this, read How Guardianship Works in Wisconsin.

Are you ready to move forward? Call (262) 221-8123 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.


Do I Need an Attorney to Get Guardianship of My Younger Sibling?

While you do not explicitly need an attorney to get guardianship of your sibling, it is often recommended to have one. An attorney knows the specifics of the process and will make everything much easier for you.

It is especially important to have an attorney when your parents don’t think your sibling needs a guardian. An attorney is more important here because then the case is contested. When choosing an attorney, it is best to select one who has a lot of experience with family law such as those at Sterling Lawyers.

Do I Need to Go to Court for Guardianship?

You cannot get guardianship of a child without going to court. You could simply take care of your brother or sister for a while, but that will not give you the legal rights of a guardian. To best protect your sibling, you need the legal rights the court gives you. Without the legal rights, your parents could take the child back at any time.

Do Siblings Have Visitation Rights?

Siblings can get visitation rights like any other family member, but only if the court rules in their favor. Generally, it is up to the parents whether or not the child sees anyone in their life. For someone to get visitation rights outside of the parent’s wishes, they need to get a court order.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (262) 221-8123 now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a sibling be a legal guardian?

Yes, a sibling can be a legal guardian. If the sibling you want to be the guardian of is a minor, then you need to get guardianship from your parents. By taking guardianship, you will get custody and placement rights over the child.

How does guardianship work in Wisconsin?

Guardianship is a thing that someone gets when the parents are unfit to take care of their children. For the other person to get guardianship, they must want it and it must be in the child’s best interest for them to have it. These cases follow the structure set out in Wisconsin’s guardianship laws.

How much does guardianship cost in Wisconsin?

The cost of guardianship depends on how you define cost. There is usually no initial fee, but the guardian pays for all standard child-rearing costs once they are taking care of the child. There are also the attorney fees to get guardianship in the first palace.

However, you can get the guardianship forms for free on our website.

How is custody determined in Wisconsin?

The court determines who gets custody of a child by looking at the child’s best interest. They look at things like what the child wants, what the parents hope, and how previous placement situations have worked. When the court is determining guardianship, they look at a different set of factors.

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