Wisconsin child custody rules for military servicemembers

Military servicemembers should be aware of a few rules related to child custody issues in Wisconsin.

First, the Uniformed Soldier’s and Sailor’s Civil Relief Act provides some protections for active duty servicemembers facing a divorce filing in Wisconsin.  The Act permits an active duty servicemember to delay a divorce, child custody, or support matter during deployment unless the member can properly participate in the case.  A servicemember served with divorce or custody papers should contact a lawyer immediately to ensure that he/she receives any necessary protections under the SSCRA.

Second, Wis. Stat. 767.41(2)(e)2 states that, in child custody disputes, the judge may not consider whether a National Guard or Reserve 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.”  This rule is designed to focus on the member’s present situation, and grant child custody accordingly, rather than the penalizing the member for the possibility that he/she may be called to active duty in the future.

Third, Wis. Stat. 767.451(3m) states that orders modifying placement of a child due to a servicemember’s active duty must require that the allocation of child placement in effect before the modification is “reinstated immediately upon the servicemember’s discharge or release from active duty.”  The obvious purpose for this rule is to avoid penalizing members who are called to active duty by requiring them to file a new motion to change child placement upon their return.

Members called to active duty face difficult decisions, often in a relatively short time, regarding their children.  The lawyers at Kowalski Family Law have years of experience representing service members, and military spouses, and are always available to consult on these important issues.  Please feel free to call 608-709-5000 for a free consultation.

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