Child Visitation Rights in Wisconsin

Visitation in Divorcing or Divorce Cases

In order for a person who is not the parent of a child to be granted visitation with a child in a situation where the parents are or were previously married, he or she must meet three requirements:

  1. The parents must have been married to each other and are either divorced or a divorce is pending before the court.
  2. The person petitioning the court must fall into any of the following categories to have standing, or the right, to petition the court:
    • A grandparent
    • A great grandparent
    • A stepparent
    • A person who has maintained a relationship with the child similar to a parent-child relationship
  3. Once it is determined that the person petitioning the court has standing, that person must then show that visitation is in the best interests of the child, which is shown through a number of statutory factors.

Visitation in Paternity Cases

The standard is somewhat different in paternity cases. In these cases, grandparents may petition for visitation if the child has not been adopted. The grandparent must also have maintained a relationship with the child or attempted to maintain a relationship with the child. Additionally, the grandparents must show that visitation is in the best interests of the children and that they (the grandparents) are not likely to act in a manner contrary to the decisions made by the child’s legal custodian.

Visitation in the Case of One Parent’s Death

In the case of one parent’s death, grandparents and stepparents may petition the court for visitation if the child is left in the custody of the surviving parent or another guardian. In these situations, the petitioner only has to prove that visitation is in the child’s best interests when considering the child’s wishes.

Contact Us for a Consultation With One of Our Family Law Lawyers

If you are a grandparent or stepparent and would like to petition for visitation with grandchild or child, our experienced family law attorneys can help! For a no obligation consultation with one of our family law attorneys at Doar, Drill & Skow, call 877-362-7529 toll free or contact us online. Located in New Richmond, we serve clients throughout western Wisconsin.