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Waukesha, WI divorce and family law attorney

When you get a divorce in the state of Wisconsin and you are a parent, you are required to determine several things before you finalize your divorce. You must determine nearly everything related to your children, such as where they will live, what their custody arrangement schedule would look like, how much child support would be and who pays it, among other things. When you and your spouse come to an agreement about parenting time, you are then bound to that agreement for at least two years after the final judgment unless you have evidence that the current custody placement is harming the child in some way. If you are seeking to modify a Wisconsin parenting time agreement, help from an attorney can be extremely beneficial.

Reasons to Modify a Visitation Arrangement in Wisconsin

The first thing the court will consider when looking at your petition for modification is when the original order was entered. For the most part, a custody agreement has to have been in place for at least two years to be eligible for modification. However, in certain situations, you may be able to modify your existing child custody and visitation arrangement prior to the two-year wait period. Possible reasons for modification may include:

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New Berlin child custody attorney

One of the biggest fears that parents have when ending their marriage is how divorce will affect their children. Fortunately, most children whose parents get divorced grow up to be happy, successful, and well-adjusted adults. Studies have shown that children of divorce are relatively unaffected by the event as long as they are exposed to marital conflict as little as possible. In order to promote cooperation, Wisconsin courts require parents to attend mediation to try to create a parenting plan before appearing before a judge. If mediation fails or would be inappropriate, then you will need to go to court, where a judge will determine a parenting plan for you. However, if you and your co-parent are able to negotiate a plan among yourselves, this is even more beneficial.

Elements of a Parenting Plan

Every couple that is getting a divorce and has a minor child in the state of Wisconsin is required to file a parenting plan with the court and have it approved by the judge prior to the divorce being finalized. A parenting plan is a legal document that outlines all of the parental duties that each spouse has, especially in regard to legal custody and parenting time (visitation). Other things that should be included in a parenting plan can be information such as:

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New Berlin divorce attorney parental alienation

Divorce is never easy for anyone, but for a child, coping with a divorce can be more difficult than it is for other members of the family. This is especially true for divorces that involve a lot of conflict or disagreements between the spouses. In high-conflict divorces, everyone feels the effects of the split, especially a child. In some cases, a parent may even use a son or daughter to his or her advantage during the divorce by pitting the child against their soon-to-be-ex spouse. Parental alienation is a serious issue present in some contentious divorces that can not only cause issues during the divorce process but can have lasting effects on the relationship between the child and his or her parents.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent uses various strategies and methods to isolate his or her child from the other parent and attempts to sabotage or harm the relationship between them. Most of the time, this type of behavior is intentional by the acting parent and is intended to “get back at” or hurt the other parent. While parental alienation is aimed at harming the other parent, the child becomes collateral damage and can suffer emotional and mental distress and other long-term effects.

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New Berlin divorce attorney child custody

When you and your spouse decide to go your separate ways, there are many serious decisions that must be made about your child and your child’s future. You do not get to just simply walk away from your spouse after your divorce when you are a parent -- you must figure out a way to cooperate with one another for the sake of your child. One of the first things you and your spouse will have to agree on is who will have custody of your child and where your child will live. A Wisconsin child custody attorney can help guide you through the process.

Factors for Considering the Child’s Best Interest

Like most other states, Wisconsin courts presume that joint legal and physical custody is in the best interest of a child unless his or her mental, physical, or emotional health would be in danger if rights were awarded to both parents after the divorce. Legal custody and physical placement are decided on a separate basis, meaning it is possible for a parent to spend time with his or her child but have no decision-making capabilities.

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Oconomowoc child support attorney

Traditionally, child support payments were a product of divorce proceedings. If a husband and wife got divorced, the wife was typically granted sole custody of the children, while the husband had designated visitation rights. The husband would also pay a certain amount to the wife each month to help with the cost of raising the children. In today’s world, the situations in which child support is awarded have vastly changed, although the general purpose still remains the same. Child support is intended to be used for expenses relating to the child, such as clothing, food, and other essential items. Most courts across the country have agreed that both the mother and the father have the responsibility of financially providing for their children, regardless of where the child lives. Child support calculations can become confusing, but an experienced family law attorney can help explain the legal process.

Shared or Sole Custody?

The first factor you will want to consider during your calculations is whether you will share custody of your children or whether custody was awarded to just one parent. If one parent has full custody, then the non-custodial parent will pay child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support is determined by a percentage of the payor's income as set forth by Wisconsin law. For example, if a couple has three children together, and the children all live with one parent, then the other parent is required to pay child support equal to 29 percent of his or her gross monthly income.

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