When a couple with children chooses to get a divorce in Wisconsin, one of the most important issues that must be resolved is the children’s custody and physical placement. Physical placement decisions are often complicated and emotionally charged, and they require the consideration of many different factors, including the children’s needs and best interests, the wishes of the children and parents, and the effects on relationships between parents and children.
Extensive discussions or a contested battle in court are sometimes needed to reach a decision on these matters, and once a child custody order has been issued, it can be incredibly frustrating and distressing when your former spouse fails to follow its terms. You should know that if you find yourself in such a situation, you can take legal action to enforce the order and ensure that you have the time with your children to which you are entitled.
When Should I Petition for Enforcement of Placement?
Wisconsin law outlines three kinds of situations in which a petition for enforcement of physical placement is appropriate. They are as follows:
- One parent has denied the other’s physical placement time. For example, one parent may refuse to transfer the children to the other when their allocated time has ended.
- One parent has interfered with the other’s physical placement time. For example, a parent could try to come to the other’s home to visit the children, or they may attempt excessive communication with the children during the other parent’s scheduled time.
- One parent has experienced financial losses because the other has failed to exercise their physical placement time. For example, if one parent does not care for the children during their allocated time, the other may have to miss work or arrange for childcare.
If you are dealing with any of these behaviors on the part of your former spouse, you can file a petition with the court explaining the violation and requesting an appropriate remedy. You will also need to serve notice to your former spouse that the motion has been filed.
Consequences of Physical Custody Violations
After a hearing at which both parents will have the opportunity to present their case, the court will make a decision as to whether a custody violation has occurred. If so, the parent against whom the petition was filed may face a number of consequences. The court could order makeup placement time for the parent whose time was impacted, or it may require the parent in violation of the order to compensate the petitioning parent for their financial losses and court costs. In some cases, a new child custody order may be created that reduces the amount of physical placement for the violating parent. A parent who violates a child custody order could also be found in contempt of court, in which case they could face penalties including imprisonment for up to six months and daily fines of up to $2,000.
Contact a Waukesha County Family Law Attorney
If you are being denied your court-ordered physical placement, or if your ex’s behavior is interfering with your time with your children, the attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help. We will work with you to file a petition regarding the violation in question, and we will advocate on your behalf during your court hearing. For a free consultation, contact a Milwaukee custody enforcement lawyer today at 414-271-1440.