Child Custody FAQ

By Carlos Gamino

Child custody can be a difficult issue for divorcing parents – you both want what’s best for your kids, but you may have a tough time seeing eye-to-eye on what that is. Check out this child custody FAQ to get some answers, and if you don’t see what you’re looking for here, feel free to call us at 414-383-6700 for a free consultation. We’ll be happy to get you the answers you need.

Child Custody FAQ

Some of the most common questions we hear about child custody include:

  • What makes a parent unfit for custody?
  • What should you not do in a child custody case?
  • What questions does a judge ask a child in a custody case?
  • What kind of evidence do I need for child custody?
  • Can text messages be used in court for custody?

Here’s a closer look at each.

What Makes a Parent Unfit for Custody?

Some things can make a parent unfit for child custody – particularly when that parent’s conduct fails to provide proper care, guidance or support to the child. Abuse, neglect and substance abuse issues can also make a parent unfit for child custody. Every case is different, so if you suspect that your ex is unfit to parent your children, you should speak to a Wisconsin divorce and child custody attorney immediately.

What Should You NOT Do in a Child Custody Case?

You should never do anything that jeopardizes your ability to parent your children during a child custody case (or at any other time, for that matter). You should also avoid:

  • Verbal or physical confrontations with your ex
  • Introducing a new partner to your children
  • Criticizing your kids’ other parent to family, friends, or worse, to the children
  • Failing to make your child support payments
  • Letting your children down – when you say you’ll be there, be there
  • Preventing your children from seeing their other parent

Related: Wisconsin child custody laws

What Questions Does a Judge Ask in a Custody Case?

Most child custody cases are settled between parents. However, a small fraction of cases go to trial – and in those cases, a judge decides where children will spend most of their time. If your case goes to trial because you and your ex can’t agree on what’s best for your children, the judge will likely ask you several questions, including:

  • Which of you has been the kids’ primary caretaker?
  • What kind of stability can you provide for your child in your home?
  • How will you foster a loving relationship between your kids and their other parent?

Your attorney will submit documentation that helps you get the best possible outcome, and he or she will also help you prepare to go to court. However, it’s almost always in your best interest to try to work out a custody agreement with your ex rather than going to trial.

Related: Child placement laws in Wisconsin

What Kind of Evidence Do I Need for Child Custody?

Your attorney will tell you what kind of evidence you need for your child custody case, which may include things like voicemail messages, emails, text messages, video and audio recordings, and police reports. Every case is different, so we can’t give you a specific list here – but we can tell you after we’ve learned more about your personal situation.

Can Text Messages Be Used in Court for Custody?

Text messages can, and often are, used in court for child custody disputes. Our advice: Never, ever put anything in writing that you may later regret. And if you have something in writing from your ex, don’t delete it.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Child Custody?

If you’re a divorcing parent, we may be able to help you. Call us at 414-383-6700 right now to schedule your free consultation. We’ll ask you some questions (and answer your questions) so you and your kids can start moving forward.

Attorney Carlos Gamino