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.
Important Considerations in Physical Custody Decisions
Wisconsin courts will consider a number of factors when determining whether a physical placement arrangement is in your children’s best interests. Some of the most important include:
- The children’s wishes and needs: Specifically, the court will consider a child’s connection to their home, school, and community; their developmental, educational, and physical and mental health needs; and their need for stability and routine. Depending on their age and maturity, a child can express his or her own wishes regarding the placement agreement.
- The parents’ wishes: You may propose your own physical placement terms to the court for consideration, or you may negotiate an agreement with your spouse that considers both of your wishes. Factors to consider when doing so include your work schedules, the locations of your homes, and the ability to transport your children between them.
- The parents’ past relationship with the children: A parent who already has a strong relationship with the child or who has demonstrated a greater commitment to the child’s care may be granted a greater share of physical custody.
- The parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate: Parents who are willing to work together to co-parent their children and support their children’s relationship with the other parent may have a better chance of reaching an agreement that meets both of their needs.
- Evidence of dangerous behavior: Either parent’s history of domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or other behaviors that pose a risk to the children can negatively impact their share of physical placement, as can relationships with other people who could potentially pose a risk.
Contact a Milwaukee Child Custody Lawyer
Whether you are working on a cooperative physical placement agreement with your spouse, or you need to prepare for a court battle to determine child custody, the attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can provide you with the legal advice and representation you need to have the best chance of success. Contact a Waukesha County family law attorney today at 414-271-1440 to request a free consultation.