Grandparents Rights

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Wausau Grandparents' Rights Attorney

Do you have a grandchild who, because of issues with his or her parents, may need care or guidance that he or she is not getting at home? Do you believe you can offer that guidance? Wisconsin law gives grandparents the chance to petition the court for visitation rights and even custody in limited circumstances.

These laws are complex, and hearings over visitation rights can get heated among family members. We strongly recommend you consider hiring our experienced family law attorneys to make your case.

At Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., we will assess your grandchild's current situation and determine the best way to argue for your visitation rights. Contact our Wausau grandparents' rights lawyer online or call 715-845-9621 today to schedule a consultation.

Grandparents' Visitation Rights

As a rule of thumb, parents decide what is in the best interests of their children, and that includes grandparents' visitation. If your grandchild's parents are still married or the family is otherwise living together, it is unlikely a court would issue a decree granting visitation.

However, there are three circumstances where a court does have discretion to issue such an order: when the parents are divorced or separated, when they are unmarried, or when one or both parents are deceased.

Parents are divorced or legally separated: Grandparents may file a petition for visitation when a court action for divorce or legal separation has been filed and the family is not intact. Courts use varying tests to determine the "intactness" of the family.

Parents are unmarried: The court has discretion to grant reasonable visitation under these circumstances when all of the following apply:

  • The parents have not subsequently married.
  • The paternity of the child is known.
  • The child has not been adopted.
  • The grandparent has, or has tried to have, a relationship with the child.
  • The grandparent is unlikely to go against the decisions of the custodial parent.
  • Visitation with the grandparent is in the child's best interest.

One or both parents are deceased: The grandparent can sue for visitation rights, unless another person has adopted the child.

Grandparents' Custody Rights

Under Wisconsin law, a parent is entitled to custody of his or her child unless the parent is either unfit or unable to adequately care for the child or there are compelling reasons for awarding custody to a grandparent. Compelling reasons include:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • Persistent neglect of parental responsibilities by the custodial parent or both parents
  • Extended disruption of parental custody
  • Other "extraordinary circumstances" that would drastically affect the welfare of the child

Unless the parents have voluntarily given up their rights to the child and the grandparents adopt him or her, these cases can be extremely acrimonious and stressful for the child. Remember, at the end of the day the best interests of the child must be the primary goal.

Contact Our Merrill Visitation Rights Lawyer

If you believe you have a right to visitation with or custody of your grandchildren, Schmidt & Schmidt, S.C., will help you in your fight to protect their best interests. Our experienced attorneys work tirelessly to provide high-quality service and the best possible results to our clients.

Contact our grandparents' rights law firm online today, or call 715-845-9621 today to schedule a consultation. Weekend and evening times are available by appointment. We can also meet with you in your home, in a health care facility or in another setting, if necessary. Major credit cards are accepted.