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Understanding Child Custody And Relocations In Wisconsin

We live in a mobile society. Individuals often choose to relocate for a wide range of reasons. However, if a parent wants to move with his or her child and a family court proceeding is pending, or there is a current custody order in place, choosing to move may be more complicated. Even parents with sole legal custody may need to take steps to obtain consent from the other parent, or permission from the court to relocate, if the other parent has placement (or visitation) rights.

Wisconsin law requires relocating parents to notify the other parent of their intent to relocate with their child to another state.  In early April 2018, the law in Wisconsin changed and now notice is required too if the proposed move involves a distance of 100 miles or more even if it is within the State of Wisconsin. If you are considering a move and want to take your child with you, it may be wise to resolve child custody and placement issues before taking any other steps.

The new law includes very specific notice requirements and deadlines as to when notice and responses must be given.  The law also provides for a hearing to be scheduled within 30 days of giving notice, so whether you wish to move or you are objecting to a proposed move, you must act quickly.  The assistance of an experienced family law attorney can be of significant benefit when navigating through these cases.

Even if you plan to move a shorter distance within Wisconsin, resolving placement issues before moving may be necessary. For instance, if you intend to move within Wisconsin to a home less than 100 miles from your current residence, the relocation may render the arrangements listed in a current placement order unworkable. The family court may find the move is a substantial change of circumstances. In this situation, the court would evaluate the best interests of the child and may modify the terms of the custody and placement arrangement.

The Basics Of Notice To The Other Parent

Notably, if you decide to move alone without your children, you do not need to obtain the consent of the other parent to move. If you intend to maintain your custody and placement rights, however, you may need to revise your court orders regarding the placement schedule and make plans to continue to communicate with the other parent regarding custodial decisions.  If you and the other parent cannot agree on a placement schedule after your move, you may need to seek a court order granting you placement rights after your move. Mediation may also be required before the court will address such issues; therefore, it is important to take action prior to your move to ensure that new placement terms are in place.

If you are facing divorce, or if there is a current family court order in place, and you plan to move with your child, it is important to work with a local and experienced family law attorney. Custody and placement disputes can be difficult, and preparing a strong case to prove the best interests of the child is critical in seeking the best outcome when you are planning to move or your children’s other parent intends to move.

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