Children And Divorce: Custody Does Not Mean Ownership

When a court awards custody of a child to one parent, it does not mean the other parent will lose all rights and obligations regarding the child's welfare. Custody grants the rights and responsibilities to one or both parents to make major decisions concerning the child as determined by the court or the agreement of both parties.

At Brazil & Benske, LLC, in Milwaukee, we offer guidance through all aspects of child custody and placement cases, including complex cases involving grandparents and extended family and modifications to existing arrangements when one parent moves or circumstances change. Changes in custody arrangements often require changes in child support as well, and we will help make sure your children receive the emotional and financial support they need.

Mediation Is Required When Custody Or Placement Is In Dispute

In any disputed child custody or placement matter, the court will order the parents to enter into mediation. If you are handling the case on your own or have already hired a lawyer who does not have experience with custody mediation, you can still call us to discuss your concerns. We offer services to help you arrive at a mediated child custody and placement agreement.

How Wisconsin Courts Determine Custody Arrangements

If a custody or placement arrangement cannot be worked out in mediation or collaborative negotiations and the dispute must go to trial, the court will always make its judgment based on the best interests of the child, with a presumption that joint custody is usually the best option. Factors the court considers include:

  • The wishes of the child, which may be communicated by the child, through a guardian ad litem appointed for the child or by another professional
  • The child's relationship with each parent, with siblings and with any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests
  • The amount and quality of time each parent spent with the child in the past
  • Any necessary changes to the parents' custodial roles and any reasonable lifestyle changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future
  • The child's adjustment to the home, school, religion and community
  • The age of the child and the child's developmental and educational needs at different ages
  • The mental and physical health of the parties, the minor children and others living in the proposed custodial household
  • The need for reoccurring and meaningful periods of parenting time and physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child
  • The availability of public or private child care services
  • Whether each party can support the other party's relationship with the child, or whether one party is likely to interfere with the child's continuing relationship with the other party or to unreasonably refuse to cooperate or communicate with the other party

"When parents can't agree on what is in the best interest of a child, all of our attorneys are well-equipped to aggressively protect your interests in court. We handle a large number of child custody and appeals cases in Wisconsin." — Senior partner Paulette Brazil

Get Help Protecting Your Relationship With Your Children

If you need assistance with a child custody and placement matter or would like to learn more about these cost-effective alternatives to going to court, call us at 414-939-0468 or contact us by email. We can help with these and other issues. As your attorneys, we will work to present a strong case in your favor.