Co-parenting in Wisconsin: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

Co-parent with confidence by using our Free Co-parenting App - Start Now

Child Custody in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, custody is established through issuing a court order, typically allocated by a judge or magistrate. According to WI Statute 767.41, joint custody can consist of physical placement or legal custody, or both. In other words, both parents have the responsibility of taking care of the child and making decisions.


Physical placement includes determining where the child lives and how much time they spend with each parent. Legal custody is more nuanced, as it refers to decisions that parents must make regarding the child’s welfare and development. This can include issues like healthcare, education, religious upbringing, extracurriculars, and other aspects that could impact the child’s day to day life.


Physical placement, also called visitation, can be determined through mutual agreement or by a court order. That depends on if the parents choose to work together amicabally or if it needs to be enforced by the court.


Child Support in Wisconsin

The parent who does not have physical placement of the child usually provides child support payments. The amount of support for the non-custodial parent is based on the income of both parents and is established according to section 767.25 of Wisconsin statutes. It may be done with a child support agreement or a state court order.


The court and the parties themselves can issue a child support agreement. If the parents disagree on support payments, the matter will be taken to court, where the judge and magistrate will review the situation and make the decision based on what is most beneficial for the child.


Co-parenting Expenses in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, the court is not liable to order a co-parenting expenses agreement between parents. They may, however, do so if it is mutually decided upon. According to WI Statute 767.507, the court can include additional costs such as medical bills, transportation costs, and other necessary expenses used for the child’s care and benefit. These expenses must be detailed in the parenting plan or agreement between both parents.


Parental Rights in Wisconsin

Each parent is accountable for fulfilling their parental responsibilities, as stated in WI Statute 767.415. The parent with physical placement of the child must ensure their safety and well-being while the parent without physical placement must continue to uphold their obligations to reimburse the other parent for approved expenses.


It is essential that both parents know the amount of involvement each has in the child’s life, as well as understand their rights in the case of emergencies. All decisions should be made based on what is best for the child, always taking into consideration the wishes of both parents.


Decisions Regarding Co-parenting in Wisconsin

When it comes to major decisions regarding the shared child, both parents must agree. If they are unable to decide on an issue, they must use mediation to talk it out and come to a resolution. According to WI Statute 767.86, couples can arrange their own mediation or use a professional to help settle the dispute.


Major decisions should always be discussed with the other parent and should take both of their opinions into consideration. It is beneficial for parents to keep a complete and open communication when it comes to decisions about the child.


Creating a Parenting Plan in Wisconsin

Parents are expected to create a parenting plan that details their rights and duties when co-parenting their child. This document should include information regarding decision-making, visitation schedules, and other details about parenting the child together. A parenting plan should be taken to court in order to be approved. According to WI Statute 767.24, the plan must account for a particular timeframe, as well as how it can be adjusted as the child grows.


To ensure that the agreement is mutually beneficial to both parties, it should be created with in open and successful communication between both parents. They should also outline their rights and obligations in separate, clear contracts to ensure all bases are covered.


Visitation Rights in Wisconsin

The parent who resides with the child will generally have the first option when it comes to visitation. Visitation rights should be detailed in the parenting plan, including times and locations for the child to spend with the non-custodial parent. According to WI Statute 767.24, special considerations should be taken into account for special occasions and holidays, in respect for both parents.


Visitation should never be withheld from the non-custodial parent without reason. If the custodial parent is withholding visitation, they must have a legal backing and be able to prove that it is in the best interest of the child.


How to Mediate Co-Parenting in Wisconsin

If communication between both co-parents breaks down, they must use mediation to reach a resolution. This is a process in which both parents take part to ensure that the decisions are decided amicably. It is important to keep in mind that the goals of mediation are to come to agreements that are fair to both parties and beneficial to the child. According to WI Statute 767.86, a mediator may be involved to assist in resolving any disputes that may arise.


The primary goal of mediation should always be for both parents to put the child’s needs first and to understand everyone’s point of view. It is a lengthy process but can be very beneficial in the end if successful communication is maintained.



Co-parenting is often difficult, but with the right communication, knowledge of the law and willingness to come to a successful resolution, it can be beneficial for both parents. The state of Wisconsin has its own specific rules and regulations when it comes to custody, child support, parental rights, decisions, parenting plans, and visitation rights. By being aware of the law and understanding the responsibilities of each parent, co-parents can better manage their situation.


Fact Check and Sources

In writing this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

Thousands of co-parents worldwide have successfully managed custody schedules, shared children's expenses, and communication with Cent.

Get Started Today