Custody & Visitation

Custody & Visitation Issues

The Wood County Child Support Agency does not handle custody or visitation issues. To address custody or visitation issues, you may contact a private attorney or the Wood County Family Court Commissioner, Attorney John Adam Kruse.

Family Court Commissioner Contact Information

John Adam Kruse
113 West 2nd St
Marshfield, WI 54449
(715) 387-8657

Visitation Guidelines

The Wood County Family Court Commissioner, John Adam Kruse, has drawn up visitation guidelines for paternity cases and they have been adopted by the Wood County Judges on May 24, 2007. These guidelines are just that, guidelines and will only be used in normal situations, as defined later. The Family Court Commissioner's guidelines reflect input received from Child Psychologists, Family Mediators and other Attorney's from around the State of Wisconsin to ensure relevance in keeping the best interest of the child in the forefront of everyone's mind.

Paternity Child Access Plan Guidelines (PDF Format)

The Wood County Child Support Agency will attach visitation guidelines to New Paternity Orders in normal situations only. These guidelines will not be utilized if there is evidence or a history of child abuse by a parent, domestic abuse between the parents, significant mental disease or defect, significant alcohol or other drug abuse problems, or a significant geographic distance between the parents' respective residences.

In a new paternity order, with a normal situation, the wording in the order shall be as follows:

Non-Custodial Parent (parent who is not the primary caretaker) shall have periods of physical placement (visitation) at reasonable times upon reasonable notice, however, if the parties cannot mutually agree on reasonable visitation, Exhibit A shall serve as the minimum.

Scroll down on this page for definitions of some of the terms in the above paragraph.

If the parties don't agree to the imposition of the guidelines as a part of the court order, the court is likely to impose them on a temporary basis and require the parties to pursue mediation and, if that doesn't result in an agreement, then a contested hearing will be scheduled. A contested hearing may mean that a court would require the moving party or possibly both parties to pay for a custody study and the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interests of the child. This is all likely to cost each party several thousand dollars, even if they don't hire their own counsel.

If at any time the parties have questions about the guidelines, those questions should be directed to the Family Court Commissioner's office. The Wood County Child Support Agency does not and will not enforce visitation but will place the guidelines in the orders as a starting point for the parties.

Custody & Visitation Terms and Definitions

  • Custody
    "Custody" includes, but is not limited to, making decisions regarding consent to marry, consent to enter military service, consent to obtain a motor vehicle operator's license, authorization for nonemergency health care and choice of school and religion.
  • Joint Custody
    "Joint Custody" means the condition under which both parties share legal custody and neither party's custody rights are superior, except with respect to specified decisions as set forth by the court or the parties in the final judgment or order.
  • Joint Legal Custody
    "Joint Legal Custody" is child custody arrangement where each parent shares the rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child.
  • Physical placement
    "Physical placement" which is also simply called "Placement", means the time periods when a person has the right to have a child physically placed with them and have the right and responsibility to make, during that placement, routine daily decisions regarding the child's care.
  • Primary Physical Placement
    "Primary Physical Placement" is a reference to the primary caretaker of the child and the primary home of the child.
  • Visitation
    "Visitation" refers to the noncustodial parent's rights to access (see) the child. The word placement is used to mean placement of a child that is not primary.
  • Reasonable Visitation upon Reasonable Advance Notice
    "Reasonable Visitation upon Reasonable Advance Notice" is a method of granting the parent without primary placement the right to see the child upon giving adequate notice to the parent with primary placement. This method of fixing placement leaves it to the parties to work out the scheduling of visitation but places primary control in the party with primary physical placement.
Department Menu
Child Support Links