Legal custody refers to the major decision-making authority for a child. Wisconsin law presumes that joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child unless the court finds that awarding legal custody to a parent would be harmful to the child. In making an order of joint legal custody, the court may specify what decisions are considered to be “major decisions.” The court may give one parent some responsibilities and give the other parent different responsibilities, or the parents may be required to agree on all major decisions.
Physical placement refers to the right to have a child physically placed with a party. It gives that party the right and responsibility to make, during that placement, routine daily decisions regarding the child’s care, consistent with major decisions made by a person having legal custody. One party may be awarded primary physical placement with the other party having periods of physical placement (visitation), or the parties may be awarded shared physical placement.
It is recommended that the parties come to an agreement as to the legal custody and physical placement of the children. If they cannot, and a dispute arises, the court will order that the parties attend Mediation with Family Court Counseling Services. If the parties are still unable to come to an agreement, the court may order a Physical Placement Study or appoint a Guardian ad Litem. In making the final decision, the court will consider all factors related to the best interest of the child. The court will consider many factors that are listed in WI Statute 767.41.
Personal Safety Issues:
If your case involves minor children, and you have serious reason to believe that the health, safety, or liberty of you or a child would be jeopardized by the disclosure of certain identifying information both in paper and electronic records, you may request that identifying information be sealed from the public or the other party until a hearing is held. Once you have completed the forms, the court will schedule a hearing. At that hearing you will have to convince the judge that it is in the interest of justice for the information to continue to be sealed.