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Can My Child Choose Which Parent to Live With in Wisconsin?

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Family Law

Waukesha, WI child custody lawyerChild custody disputes in Wisconsin can be complex affairs. There is no formula that can predict how a court will rule on a given custody case. There is no single factor that guarantees which parent will be awarded the majority of physical custody, or what Wisconsin law calls “placement.”

The only thing that is guaranteed in a child custody case is that the court will try to do whatever it thinks is in the child’s best interests. This is not specifically defined by the law, so judges make decisions based on many factors in each case. Whatever is considered to be best for the child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being is usually what the court will favor.

A common question that comes up in child custody disputes is: can the child choose which parent to live with? This article will discuss a child’s choice in a custody dispute. Keep in mind, however, that consulting a Wisconsin child custody attorney is the best way to get the answers you need.

Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?

Children under 18 do not get to decide which parent to live with after a divorce. A child can, however, tell the judge his or her preference. A judge will sometimes want to know the child’s wishes and may take them into account. The child’s preference is not the deciding factor, however. The court will only give weight to the child’s wishes if the child has reached a certain maturity. In many cases, courts will factor in a child’s preference if he or she is 14 or older. A judge may still consider a younger child’s wishes if he or she exhibits a certain level of maturity.

What Other Factors Do Courts Consider?

A child’s choice is only one factor of many that Wisconsin law considers in a child custody case. These include:

  • The cooperation and communication between the parents

  • Whether a parent is being difficult or uncooperative

  • Whether a parent is likely to interfere in the child’s relationship with the other parent

  • The relationship between the child and siblings living with either parent

  • The relationship and amount of time spent between the child and each parent

  • Any reports of abuse or neglect

  • The child’s physical, educational, and developmental needs

  • Each parent’s ability to meet those needs

Contact a Waukesha, WI Child Custody Attorney

The outcome of a custody dispute depends a lot on how the judge feels about your ability to fulfill the child’s best interests. This depends in large part on how well your New Berlin, WI child custody attorney represents your case to the judge.

At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, we use our vast knowledge of divorce and family law to help our clients get the best results possible in their child custody cases. Our experienced attorneys are ready to handle your case and defend your and your child’s interests. Call 262-232-6699 for a free consultation and top-tier legal service today.

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