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Top Factors Wisconsin Considers When Determining Child Custody

Child custody is often one of the most contentious aspects of divorce. It can be difficult for two parents who are both used to living with their child 100% of the time to agree on an equitable split.

Wisconsin law requires judges to take 14 factors into account to determine the best interests of the child.

Most Important Factors

Most judges do not give all 14 factors equal weight. The living situation in the custodial home often carries the most importance. The parent who remains in the family home is frequently given preference because it provides stability to the child.

The age of the child is another important factor. Judges often prefer to place younger children with the parent who has been the primary caregiver. Parents who demonstrate a greater willingness to cooperate with the other parent to maintain a relationship with the child are also given preference.

The past relationship between the child and each parent is also important. Judges give preference to parents who have had past involvement that is consistent with the amount of time they are requesting in the custody agreement. The wishes of the child are also important, particularly for older children. Finally, judges prioritize maintaining a consistent and stable environment for the child.

What the Court Does Not Consider

The court considers all relevant facts to determine the best interests of the child without regard to the sex or race of either parent.

Parents seeking custody should consider all of the relevant factors but may want to focus on the factors that are the most likely to influence the judge’s decision.