people who haven’t been through a divorce aren’t aware that there are two types of custody in the state of Wisconsin: legal and physical.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make major decisions about his or her child. In many cases, legal custody is shared equally between both parents.
Physical custody, or physical placement, refers to where the child lives. Many parents share this, as well; even if the child lives with one parent most of the time, there will be ample time with the other parent. In most cases, the schedule of who-goes-where and when is included in your family’s court order.
But what if you have your own reasons for wanting sole legal custody or sole physical custody in Wisconsin? Is it even possible?
Can You Get Sole Custody of Your Child in Wisconsin?
Milwaukee courts, as well as those in the rest of the state, may be reluctant to grant sole legal or physical custody to one parent. Naturally, there are extenuating circumstances that can affect the court’s decision – some cases are black-and-white.
If you feel that having sole custody is truly what’s best for your child, you should be prepared to express your reasoning and present documentation that supports your assertion. Although your Milwaukee divorce lawyer will be by your side every step of the way, the judge will probably ask you to explain yourself in your own words.
Proving What’s in Your Child’s Best Interest
The court is looking out for one person: your child. The judge’s job is to help determine what will be best for the child, not the parents.
You should be going to court prepared with a clear, demonstrable reason why sole custody is the best thing for your child. Your attorney will help you prepare what you need to say and tell you what to expect from the judge before you even go to court, so don’t be nervous.
Providing Documentation to Support Your Position
Your attorney will bring:
- Papers from any previous custody hearings you’ve had
- Copies of restraining or protective orders against your ex
- Other documentation that shows why your child is better off without the other parent’s active participation
Remember, though, that your lawyer can’t bring anything that you haven’t provided. When your attorney asks you for a certain document or copies of a previous court order, make sure you bring them in. Your lawyer may need them to help your case when you’re in front of the judge.
It is possible to get sole custody of your child, but before you ask for it, make sure you have a valid reason and that it’s really in your little one’s best interest. It’s always best to push your own emotions out of the way and base all of your decisions on what will ensure your child’s well-being.