Grandparent Rights in Wisconsin
Most states allow at least some form of grandparent visitation, after a determination as to whether scuh visitation is in the best interests of the child. This inquiry can vary vastly from county to county and Judge to Judge. At Petit & Dommershausen, we guide you thru the process to get grandparents a great outcome. Learn more about Grandparent’s Rights below.
Parents have fundamental rights to raise their children as they see fit, as long as the children’s basic emotional and physical needs are being met. However, in certain circumstances, Wisconsin law allows grandparents to have reasonable visitation with a grandchild, even if it’s against the parent’s wishes.
A grandparent must file a petition requesting visitation with the court. A judge will schedule a hearing to review the circumstances of the case and allow the child’s parents to respond.
All of the following factors must be present for a judge to grant grandparent visitation:
• the child’s parents are not married, or were married but have subsequently divorced, separated or one parent is deceased
• the child isn’t adopted (to non-family members)
• the grandparent has maintained a relationship with the child, or has attempted to maintain a relationship but was prevented by the parent
• the grandparent is unlikely to act counter to the parent’s decisions regarding the child’s emotional physical, educational or spiritual welfare, and
• that grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interests. Most of the time a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed to advise the Judge as to what they think is in the best interests of the child.
Wisconsin courts require all the above elements to be met for grandparent visitation to occur. Grandparent visitation is almost always granted in cases where grandparents have had a strong relationship with the child and death or divorce has disrupted the child’s nuclear family unit.
The Court will then determine a reasonable amount of visitation. What constitutes “reasonable visitation” will depend on the unique circumstances of your case.
When Can Grandparents Get Guardianship of a Grandchild?
In some cases, a grandparent may be able to obtain guardianship over a child’s natural parent when it’s necessary to protect the child’s safety or well-being and the parents are unfit to meet the child’s needs.
A court may only award guardianship to a child’s grandparent if the following are true:
• granting guardianship to the grandparent would serve the child’s best interests, and
• the parent is unfit or unable to adequately care for the child, or there are other compelling reasons for awarding guardianship to a grandparent.
The experienced and compassionate attorneys at Petit & Dommershausen, S.C. can help you thru this difficult process. Call Attorney Tajara Dommershausen today to learn more about your rights and get the help you need.