Legal custody is that power which is given to the parents or certain relatives that allow them to take decisions for the child, till he/she is an adult and can take his/her own decisions. With the power of legal custody, one can make any major decisions about their child’s life like choosing their school, religion, place of living, in short, all decisions except, emergency health issues. There are actually two types of custody –
Joint Custody – where both parents have equal rights to make decisions for their child.
Sole Custody – where one of the parents gets the rights to make all the decisions for the child.
In most states of the United States, the decision for custody is made, by keeping in mind the best interest of the child, but in Wisconsin, there is an additional requirement for the decision making. In Wisconsin, the judges need to consider the joint custody, i.e. allowing both the parents to decisions for the child, as the best custody, or as the custody, which is in the best interest of the child. Thus, in Wisconsin, the chances of parents getting joint custody are higher, but that doesn’t mean that the parents don’t get sole custody.
Sole legal custody is that condition, where one of the parents is given the sole authority, or the decision-making power, to take all the major decisions for the child. These decisions include, decisions related to education, like in which school the child is supposed to study, minor health care, dental care, religion of the child, military enlistment, tutoring, culture and nationality of the child, like whether he/she can get a driver’s license and lastly the extracurricular activities.
As mentioned earlier the judges of Wisconsin consider joint custody as the best custody, unless there are well-stated factors that will prove, that it’s the sole custody that is beneficiary for the child. Sole custody is awarded only if the court finds the below mentioned relevant points –
If it is proved that the sole custody is in the best interest of the child.
If both the parents of the child agree, to the fact of giving sole custody to one of them.
If a parent is found incapable of fulfilling the demands, and the basic needs of the child, i.e. is incapable of parenting.
If a parent is simply uninterested in parenting or getting custody of the child.
If the parents are not at all in good in terms with each other, and the joint custody, can affect the well-being of the child.
If one of the parents is dangerous to the child, or even possess a threat to the child.
If there are conditions that are harmful to the child and to his/her upbringing.
Thus, according to the state laws, other than stated reasons, if one parent refuses to cooperate with the other parent, it is not a reason enough for the other parent to get a sole custody. It is mandatory, to produce a strong reason for sole custody, as Wisconsin courts are always in favor of joint custody than sole ones.