Selected State Statutes: Wisconsin

Statutes: Wisconsin

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767.451. Revision of legal custody and physical placement orders

Except for matters under s. 767.461 or 767.481, the following provisions are applicable to modifications of legal custody and physical placement orders:

(1) Substantial modifications. (a) Within 2 years after final judgment. Except as provided under sub. (2), a court may not modify any of the following orders before 2 years after the final judgment determining legal custody or physical placement is entered under s. 767.41, unless a party seeking the modification, upon petition, motion, or order to show cause, shows by substantial evidence that the modification is necessary because the current custodial conditions are physically or emotionally harmful to the best interest of the child:

1. An order of legal custody.

2. An order of physical placement if the modification would substantially alter the time a parent may spend with his or her child.

(b) After 2-year period. 1. Except as provided under par. (a) and sub. (2), upon petition, motion or order to show cause by a party, a court may modify an order of legal custody or an order of physical placement where the modification would substantially alter the time a parent may spend with his or her child if the court finds all of the following:

a. The modification is in the best interest of the child.

b. There has been a substantial change of circumstances since the entry of the last order affecting legal custody or the last order substantially affecting physical placement.

2. With respect to subd. 1, there is a rebuttable presumption that:

a. Continuing the current allocation of decision making under a legal custody order is in the best interest of the child.

b. Continuing the child's physical placement with the parent with whom the child resides for the greater period of time is in the best interest of the child.

3. A change in the economic circumstances or marital status of either party is not sufficient to meet the standards for modification under subd. 1.

(2) Modification of substantially equal physical placement orders. Notwithstanding sub. (1):

(a) If the parties have substantially equal periods of physical placement pursuant to a court order and circumstances make it impractical for the parties to continue to have substantially equal physical placement, a court, upon petition, motion, or order to show cause by a party, may modify the order if it is in the best interest of the child.

(b) In any case in which par. (a) does not apply and in which the parties have substantially equal periods of physical placement pursuant to a court order, a court, upon petition, motion, or order to show cause of a party, may modify the order based on the appropriate standard under sub. (1). However, under sub. (1)(b)2., there is a rebuttable presumption that having substantially equal periods of physical placement is in the best interest of the child.

(2m) Modification of periods of physical placement for failure to exercise physical placement. Notwithstanding subs. (1) and (2), upon petition, motion or order to show cause by a party, a court may modify an order of physical placement at any time with respect to periods of physical placement if it finds that a parent has repeatedly and unreasonably failed to exercise periods of physical placement awarded under an order of physical placement that allocates specific times for the exercise of periods of physical placement.

(3) Modification of other physical placement orders. Except as provided under subs. (1) and (2), upon petition, motion or order to show cause by a party, a court may modify an order of physical placement which does not substantially alter the amount of time a parent may spend with his or her child if the court finds that the modification is in the best interest of the child.

(3m) Reinstatement of former physical placement allocation and schedule. If a party is a service member, as defined in s. 767.41(2)(e)1., and the court modifies an order of physical placement on the basis that the service member has been or will be called to active duty in the U.S. armed forces, notwithstanding sub. (1) the court shall require in the order that the allocation of periods of physical placement and, if applicable, the physical placement schedule that were in effect before the modification are reinstated immediately upon the service member's discharge or release from active duty.

(4) Denial of physical placement. Upon petition, motion or order to show cause by a party or on its own motion, a court may deny a parent's physical placement rights at any time if it finds that the physical placement rights would endanger the child's physical, mental or emotional health.

(4m) Denial of physical placement for killing other parent. (a) Notwithstanding subs. (1) to (4), upon petition, motion or order to show cause by a party or on its own motion, a court shall modify a physical placement order by denying a parent physical placement with a child if the parent has been convicted under s. 940.01 of the first-degree intentional homicide, or under s. 940.05 of the 2nd-degree intentional homicide, of the child's other parent, and the conviction has not been reversed, set aside or vacated.

(b) Paragraph (a) does not apply if the court determines by clear and convincing evidence that physical placement with the parent would be in the best interests of the child. The court shall consider the wishes of the child in making the determination.

(5) Reasons for modification. If either party opposes modification or termination of a legal custody or physical placement order under this section the court shall state, in writing, its reasons for the modification or termination.

(5m) Factors to consider. (a) Subject to pars. (b) and (c), in all actions to modify legal custody or physical placement orders, the court shall consider the factors under s. 767.41(5)(am), subject to s. 767.41(5)(bm), and shall make its determination in a manner consistent with s. 767.41.

(b) In determining the best interest of the child under this section, in addition to the factor under s. 767.41(5)(am)12m., the court shall consider whether a stepparent of the child has a criminal record and whether there is evidence that a stepparent of the child has engaged in abuse, as defined in s. 813.122(1)(a), of the child or any other child or neglected the child or any other child.

(c) In an action to modify a legal custody order, if a party is a service member, as defined in s. 767.41(2)(e)1., the court may not consider as a factor in making a determination whether the service 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.

(6) Notice. No court may enter an order for modification under this section until notice of the petition, motion or order to show cause requesting modification has been given to the child's parents, if they can be found, and to any relative or agency having custody of the child.

(6m) Parenting plan. In any action to modify a legal custody or physical placement order under sub. (1), the court may require the party seeking the modification to file with the court a parenting plan under s. 767.41(1m) before any hearing is held.

(7) Transfer to department. The court may order custody transferred to the department only if the department agrees to accept custody. If the court orders custody transferred to the department, the order transferring custody shall include the findings and order specified in s. 767.41(3)(am).

(8) Petition, motion, or order to show cause. A petition, motion, or order to show cause under this section shall include notification of the availability of information under s. 767.105(2).