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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee, WI child custody attorney for physical placement enforcementBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess

When a couple with children chooses to get a divorce in Wisconsin, one of the most important issues that must be resolved is the children’s custody and physical placement. Physical placement decisions are often complicated and emotionally charged, and they require the consideration of many different factors, including the children’s needs and best interests, the wishes of the children and parents, and the effects on relationships between parents and children.

Extensive discussions or a contested battle in court are sometimes needed to reach a decision on these matters, and once a child custody order has been issued, it can be incredibly frustrating and distressing when your former spouse fails to follow its terms. You should know that if you find yourself in such a situation, you can take legal action to enforce the order and ensure that you have the time with your children to which you are entitled.

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Milwaukee family law firmMilwaukee, WI child support modification attorneyBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess

Whether a child’s parents are married, divorced, or unmarried, the child is entitled to financial support from both of them. In the case of divorced or unmarried parents, this usually comes in the form of court-ordered child support that one parent pays to the other for the purpose of providing for the child’s needs. The amount ordered depends on a variety of factors, but the most important are the income of the paying parent and the placement schedule of the child or children. If a parent’s income changes after the initial child support order, it may be possible to ask that the order be reviewed and modified to account for the current circumstances.

When a Change in Income Can Affect Child Support

In the years after a divorce or child support order, it is common for parents to experience changes in income. This often comes in the form of a raise or promotion that could allow the parent to contribute a greater amount to child support; but decreases in income are also common due to unemployment or a disability that limits a parent’s earning capacity.

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee, WI divorce attorney for child custody modificationBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Family Law Paralegal Courtney Hess

When you are getting a divorce, arriving at an agreement on the legal custody and physical placement of your children can be a challenging process as you try to prioritize your children’s best interests while balancing the needs of both parents. It is not uncommon for this process to continue even after the issuance of your child custody order, as the needs of everyone involved may change in the years following your divorce. If you find that the original order is no longer feasible or desirable, it may be time to pursue a modification.

When Can Custody and/or Placement Be Legally Modified?

In most cases, a Wisconsin child custody/placement order cannot be modified for the first two years after it is issued. However, you may be able to make the case for an early modification if you can demonstrate that circumstances have changed such that the current order is dangerous or harmful to your children. This could be the case if information comes to light regarding the other parent’s abusive behavior, or the behavior of a new romantic partner introduced to the children. The court may also consider a modification to physical placement within two years if it does not substantially change the time that either parent spends with the children.

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Milwaukee, WI physical placement attorneyBy Attorney Max Stephenson

For parents and children alike, one of the hardest parts of a divorce is adjusting to a life split between two households. In most cases, neither parent is able to spend the time with their kids that they did before the divorce. This can be extremely difficult on an emotional level, and it can also involve logistical challenges related to arranging schedules and transportation. 

You may take some solace in the fact that Wisconsin law recognizes the importance of a child’s relationship with both parents, and courts will usually make an effort to grant both parents meaningful time with their children. That said, it is still important that you understand the factors the court will consider in decisions regarding physical placement so that you can make a strong case for an arrangement that meets your family’s needs.

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Waukesha County family law firmMilwaukee child custody lawyer for virtual visitationBy Attorney Max Stephenson and Paralegal Courtney Hess

If you are a divorced or single parent, you likely know the importance of outlining when and where your child will physically reside in your parenting agreement. Virtual visitation via electronic communication is perhaps a lesser-known component of a parenting agreement, but it can be a great option for children and parents for whom physical visitation is not always possible.

When Is Virtual Visitation a Good Idea?

Virtual visitation can occur via phone, video chat, text, email, or any other electronic means, and it can be useful in a variety of situations to allow children to regularly communicate and maintain relationships with their parents. Some examples of when you might consider virtual visitation include:

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Milwaukee divorce attorney for physical placement of childrenBy Attorney Max Stephenson

When parents get divorced, they will need to determine where their children will primarily live and the amount of time they will spend with each parent. In Wisconsin, this is known as physical placement. Parents may be able to reach an agreement in these matters as part of their divorce settlement, or these and other child custody issues may need to be decided by the court. 

Determining Physical Placement

If a child’s parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding their child’s physical placement, a judge will need to make decisions about how these matters should be handled. Wis. Stat. § 767.41 provides a number of different factors that a judge should consider to determine what is in the child’s best interests, including:

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Milwaukee, WI divorce attorney for child custodyBy Attorney Max Stephenson

During your divorce, you and your spouse will need to resolve issues regarding the custody of your children. In Wisconsin, child custody may be granted solely to one parent, giving them the responsibility to make decisions about how the child will be raised. However, in most cases, the court will decide that the parents should have joint or shared custody, and divorced or separated parents will work together to make decisions for their children. Joint custody is usually appropriate if both parents are able to perform parental duties, are able to work together, and have no current conditions or conflicts that would affect the children or their environment.

In addition to child custody, a divorce agreement will address the physical placement of children, which refers to the time the child will spend with each parent. Even if one parent is granted sole custody, the other parent may be allocated a reasonable amount of physical placement.

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Milwaukee WI divorce child custody attorneyThere are numerous child custody concerns that need to be addressed as part of divorce proceedings. The resolution of these issues can have a huge influence on your children for years to come, so it is important to understand what a typical child custody proceeding entails.

Types of Custody

In Wisconsin, there are two types of custody, and both types must be negotiated or litigated during a divorce case. The first type is called legal custody, which refers to the right of a parent to decide major life decisions for their child. These determinations include where a child will go to school and attend church, as well as decisions about medical care issues. In many cases, a court will allow both parents to have a say in these decisions.

The second type of custody in Wisconsin is physical placement, which refers to where a child lives. This type of custody could be sole or joint. Even if one parent has sole custody, the other parent may have visitation rights as well as legal custody rights.

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