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Custody And Placement Disputes

Practicing Attorneys: Renee ReadJolene SchniederMark Tyckowski

What do I do when my child’s other parent is denying me my periods of physical placements?

If placement has been interfered with or denied, a parent may file a motion for enforcement of physical placement orders. court finds that the responding party has intentionally and unreasonably denied the moving party one or more periods of physical placement or that the responding party has intentionally and unreasonably interfered with one or more of the moving party’s periods of physical placement” the court will “[i]ssue an order granting additional periods of physical placement to replace those denied or interfered with” and “[a]ward the moving party a reasonable amount for the cost of maintaining [the] action … and for attorney fees.”

Additionally, the court may:specify times for periods of physical placement is the current order or judgment does not do so; find the responding party in contempt of court; and grant an injunction ordering the responding party to strictly comply with the judgment or order relating to the award of physical placement.

Can parents who have physical placement with a child relocate?

Wisconsin Statutes section 767.481 provides that “if the court grants any periods of physical placement with a child to both parents, a parent is seeking to relocate with the child 100 miles or more from the other parent, the parent who intends to relocate and reside with the child shall file a motion with the court seeking the permission for the relocation.

The motion must also include a relocation plan that incorporates: the date of the proposed relocation; the municipality and state of the proposed new residence; the reason for the relocation; if applicable, a proposed new placement schedule, including placement during the school year, summers and holidays; and the proposed responsibility and allocation of costs for each parent for transportation of the child between the parties under any proposed new placement schedule.  After the motion is filed, a hearing will be scheduled with the court.

How can legal custody or placement orders be modified?

Wisconsin Statutes section 767.451 provides the general grounds for  modifications of legal custody and physical placement orders.

If a request for substantial modification occurs within the first two years of the final judgment, an “order of legal custody” or “an order of physical placement if the modification would substantially alter the time a parent may spend with his or her child” will only be ordered if the “party seeking the modification … shows by substantial evidence that the modification is necessary because the current custodial conditions are physically or emotionally harmful to the best interest of the child.” However, if two years have passed, then “a court may modify an order of legal custody or an order of physical placement where the modification would substantially alter the time a parent may spend with his or her child if the court finds” that: (a) “The modification is in the best interest of the child;” and (2) “There has been a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the last order affecting legal custody or the last order substantially affecting physical placement.”

In terms of substantially equal physical placement orders, modification may be ordered when “circumstances make it impractical for the parties to continue to have substantially equal physical placement” and the court determines that modification ”is in the best interest of the child.”

For modification of  periods of physical placement for failure to exercise physical placement “a court may modify an order of physical placement … if it finds that a parent has repeatedly and unreasonably failed to exercise periods of physical placement awarded under an order of physical placement that allocates specific times for the exercise of periods of physical placement.”

Lastly, “a court may modify an order of physical placement which does not substantially alter the amount of time a parent may spend with his or her child if the court finds that the modification is in the best interest of the child.”

Support And Maintenance Disputes

How do I have a support and maintenance order revised?

Support and maintenance orders can be revised pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes section 767.59. This section provides that upon “petition, motion, or order to show cause” a court may: revise and alter a support or maintenance order as to the amount and payment of maintenance or child support and the appropriation and payment of the principal and income of property held in trust; or make any judgment or order on any matter that the court might have made in the original action.

When may a change in child or family support be made?

A revision as to the amount of child or family support may be made only upon a finding of a substantial change in circumstances. There may be a substantial change in circumstances if any of the following occur: a change in the payer’s income; a change in the needs of the child; a change in they payer’s earning capacity; or any other factor that the court determines is relevant.

When may a change in maintenance be made?

A revision in maintenance payments may be granted if it can be supported by “a substantial change in the cost of living for either party.” However, “a change in an obligor’s cost of living is not by itself sufficient if payments are expressed as a percentage of income.”

What happens when child or family support is delinquent?

Wisconsin Statutes section 767.73 provides that “[i]f a person fails to pay a support payment that is 90 or more days past due and the court finds that the person has the ability to pay the amount ordered, the court may suspend the person’s operating privilege … until the person pays all arrearages in full or makes payment arrangements that are satisfactory to the court”  as well as “any other remedies authorized by law.”

How are payment obligations enforced?

Wisconsin Statutes section 767.77 provides that “[t]he court may order that a payment obligation be paid in the amounts and at the times that it considers expedient” and “[i]f a party fails to pay a payment ordered … the court may by any appropriate remedy enforce the judgment, or the order as if it were a final judgment, including any past due payment and interest.”

Contact Us

Modifications to any custody, placement, support or maintenance issue should be discussed with an experience lawyer. We can help resolve these issues efficiently and cost-effectively. Call our Neenah office at 920-725-2601 or use our online form to make an appointment.