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When Are Restrictions on Child Custody Appropriate?

 Posted on January 31, 2023 in Family Law

Brookfield Parenting Time LawyerIn a divorce or family law case involving parents, the court must determine what is in the best interests of the children. This includes deciding how parents will share custody of their children. Child custody cases will address legal custody, or the rights of parents to make decisions about issues such as education and medical care for children, as well as physical placement, or the time that children will spend with each parent. In some cases, Wisconsin courts may impose restrictions on child custody if this is necessary to protect the children's safety and well-being. Parents will need to understand when these types of restrictions may be put in place and how they can protect their parental rights while providing for their children's best interests.

What Are Restrictions on Child Custody?

Courts may decide to place legal limitations upon one or both parents that will apply when they spend time with their children, interact with the other parent, or make decisions about child-related issues. In some cases, a parent may be restricted to supervised visitation with their children, and they may be required to spend time with children in a public place while under the supervision of a social worker or another person. Parents may be required to exchange children in public locations or through third parties. If children's health and safety may potentially be at risk, a parent may be prohibited from using drugs or alcohol before or during their visitation time, or they may not be allowed to have children stay overnight in their home. A parent may also be required to receive treatment for substance abuse or psychological treatment to address mental health issues, or they may be ordered to participate in a domestic abuse prevention program.

When Child Custody Restrictions May Be Put in Place

A court may decide to implement restrictions if there is evidence that these measures are necessary to protect the safety, health, and well-being of a minor child. For example, if one parent has been convicted of domestic violence or has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, the court may impose restrictions to ensure that children will not be placed in a situation where they could suffer harm. In these situations, visitation with a parent could be limited to supervised visits at an approved facility or location until it is determined that they no longer pose a threat to their children's health or safety during periods of physical placement.

In addition to domestic violence and substance abuse, courts may also consider mental illness as grounds for restricting custodial rights. If a parent has been diagnosed with a mental illness that could affect their ability to provide adequate care for their children, this could be used as grounds for implementing restrictions meant to protect children's health and safety. However, mental illness alone is rarely enough to justify restricting someone's custodial rights; there must also be evidence that this condition puts the children at risk in some way. For example, if a parent has not been taking medications and has exhibited erratic or dangerous behavior, they may be ordered to receive psychiatric treatment and follow a doctor's recommendations, and if they fail to meet these requirements, they may be prohibited from spending time with their children.

Child custody restrictions may also be appropriate if there is evidence that one parent has attempted to alienate the children from the other parent. Courts usually believe that it is in children's best interests to have positive, ongoing relationships with both parents. If one parent has attempted to interfere in a child's relationship with the other parent, such as by refusing to allow the parent to have visitation time and claiming that children do not want to spend time with them, the court may take action to protect the children's best interests and place restrictions on a parent who has engaged in parental alienation.

Contact Our Waukesha County Child Custody Attorneys

In most cases, it is best for children to maintain close relationships with both parents and spend time with each parent on a regular basis. However, when concerns about children's safety and well-being arise—such as when either parent poses a risk to the physical, emotional, or mental health of the child—restrictions on custody may need to be put in place. If you need to address these types of difficult issues during divorce or family law proceedings in Wisconsin, it is important to seek out experienced legal help right away. At Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP, our Oconomowoc child custody lawyers can help make sure your rights and your children's best interests are protected throughout all stages of your case. Contact us today at 262-232-6699 to schedule a free consultation.​​​



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