Did You Know:…Divorce: Child Custody and Placement

Questions are often presented to me concerning the rights and obligations of a  parent who is a Wisconsin resident and who is about to file for divorce or who has already filed for divorce.  A common question under these circumstances, offered in various forms, amounts to this:  Can I move out of town with my kid(s) and go to (establish residence) elsewhere with the kids (but without my spouse and without his/her permission)?***

Wis. Stats. sec. 767.117(1), entitled “Prohibited acts during pendency of action,” states that: “In an action affecting the family, the petitioner upon filing the petition, the joint petitioners upon filing the joint petition and the respondent upon service of the petition are prohibited from…(c) without the consent of the other party or any order of the court, establishing a residence with a minor child of the parties outside the state or more than 150 miles from the residence of the other party within the state, removing a minor child of the parties from the state for more than 90 consecutive days, or concealing a minor child of the parties from the other party.”  This prohibition continues in “until the action is dismissed, until a final judgment in the action is entered, or until the court orders otherwise.

The facts and circumstances of each and every action for divorce is different from the next, especially when they involve children.  Therefore, it is strongly suggested that spouses that are either contemplating divorce or who have filed or been served in a new divorce action contact an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss the meaning and interpretation of this statute (what it means to the court in your specific set of circumstances) and ask questions of your attorney. *** PLEASE NOTE:  The law is different on this issue when a court has already granted “periods of physical placement to more than one parent” in the form of an Order of the Court.  Call me at 715-365-9008 before you act, and I will be happy to talk with you and answer your questions on these issues.