Parental Rights in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Parental Rights News

Parents’ Efforts Around the Country Starting to Pay Off!

March 17, 2022

Across the nation, some state legislatures are starting to adjourn for the year. Others have reached cross-over day, where bills have to pass from one chamber to another or they’re dead for the year. Still other legislatures remain in full swing. All this year, ordinary moms and dads like you, with your energy and passion,…

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Wisconsin State Law and Parental Rights

At Risk

Wisconsin does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights.

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Wisconsin Courts and Parental Rights


However, this precedent is subject to change.

Barstad v. Frazier, 348 N.W.2d 479 (Wis. 1984), cited in Cynthia H. v. Joshua O. (In re Guardianship of Clive R.O.), 777 N.W.2d 664, 675 (Wis. Ct. App. 2009):

"[A] parent is entitled to custody of his or her children unless the parent is either unfit or unable to care for the *674 children or there are compelling reasons for awarding custody to a third party. Compelling reasons include abandonment, persistent neglect of parental responsibilities, extended disruption of parental custody, or other similar extraordinary circumstances that would drastically affect the welfare of the child. If the court finds such compelling reasons, it may award custody to a third party if the best interests of the children would be promoted thereby."