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Wisconsin Best Interest of the Child Factors

In rendering a judgment of annulment, divorce, legal separation, or paternity, the court shall make such provisions as it deems just and reasonable concerning the legal custody and physical placement of any minor child of the parties, as provided in Wisconsin Statute 767.41.

Wisconsin Statute 767.41 (5):Factors In Custody And Physical Placement Determinations

(5) Factors In Custody And Physical Placement Determinations.

(am) Subject to pars. (bm) and (c), in determining legal custody and periods of physical placement, the court shall consider all facts relevant to the best interest of the child. The court may not prefer one parent or potential custodian over the other on the basis of the sex or race of the parent or potential custodian. Subject to pars. (bm) and (c), the court shall consider the following factors in making its determination:

  1. The wishes of the child's parent or parents, as shown by any stipulation between the parties, any proposed parenting plan or any legal custody or physical placement proposal submitted to the court at trial.
  2. The wishes of the child, which may be communicated by the child or through the child's guardian ad litem or other appropriate professional.
  3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest.
  4. The amount and quality of time that each parent has spent with the child in the past, any necessary changes to the parents' custodial roles and any reasonable life-style changes that a parent proposes to make to be able to spend time with the child in the future.
  5. The child's adjustment to the home, school, religion and community.
  6. The age of the child and the child's developmental and educational needs at different ages.
  7. Whether the mental or physical health of a party, minor child, or other person living in a proposed custodial household negatively affects the child's intellectual, physical, or emotional well-being.
  8. The need for regularly occurring and meaningful periods of physical placement to provide predictability and stability for the child.
  9. The availability of public or private child care services.
  10. The cooperation and communication between the parties and whether either party unreasonably refuses to cooperate or communicate with the other party.
  11. Whether each party can support the other party's relationship with the child, including encouraging and facilitating frequent and continuing contact with the child, or whether one party is likely to unreasonably interfere with the child's continuing relationship with the other party.
  12. Whether there is evidence that a party engaged in abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), of the child, as defined in s. 48.02 (2). 12m. Whether any of the following has a criminal record and whether there is evidence that any of the following has engaged in abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), of the child or any other child or neglected the child or any other child:
    • a. A person with whom a parent of the child has a dating relationship, as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (ag).
    • b. A person who resides, has resided, or will reside regularly or intermittently in a proposed custodial household.
  13. Whether there is evidence of interspousal battery as described under s. 940.19 or 940.20 (1m) or domestic abuse as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (am).
  14. Whether either party has or had a significant problem with alcohol or drug abuse.
  15. The reports of appropriate professionals if admitted into evidence.
  16. Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant. (bm) If the court finds under sub. (2) (d) that a parent has engaged in a pattern or serious incident of interspousal battery, as described under s. 940.19 or 940.20 (1m), or domestic abuse, as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (am), the safety and well-being of the child and the safety of the parent who was the victim of the battery or abuse shall be the paramount concerns in determining legal custody and periods of physical placement. (c) If a parent is a service member, as defined in sub. (2) (e) 1.,the court may not consider as a factor in determining the legal custody of a child whether the service member has been or may be called to active duty in the U.S. armed forces and consequently is, or in the future will be or may be, absent from the service member's home.