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Divorced and have kids. Ex has visits. asked court to change visitations. What do I do next?

Eau Claire, WI |

I have three children with my ex. I have full custody and he has visits. One visit, he was drunk for the entire time. Emotionally abused kids, and failed to provide care for them. I filed order to alter visits. I want supervised visits until he can prove reliable. He is technically homeless, but is rooming with his mother. He wants all weekend unsupervised visits. Attempted mediation. No agreement. I let him have a few supervised visits, in which he broke the rules to those visits by taking children out of supervisors sight. How do I convince the court that he should only have supervised non-overnight visits? What do I do after I requested a hearing?

Mediator says that he is fit parent but wouldn't put her children in that home. No toilet or running water in home. In actuality, he is a life long drunk. He was drunk for thanksgiving, christmas and a birthday visit, not to mention two behavior health stays and has no job, and was recently evicted.

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Attorney answers 2


It's not clear to me whether the mediator was court-ordered as part of a petition to modify placement, or whether you've filed a petition to modify placement. You'll need to file a petition for placement modification if you have not.

There will be a hearing, and you'll need to present at that hearing why the court should impose supervised visits on the father. The burden of proof that he is not responsible enough for unsupervised visits is on you, and this is where you should consult with an attorney to review the facts. Your attorney will want to know if there is proof that he was intoxicated while caring for the children, whether he has adequate bedrooms and bedding for the children, whether child protective services have been involved with the father's conduct, and will want to know about any other proof that the father should not be entrusted with unsupervised visits.

A court in Wisconsin must determine the child's best interests when making a placement order. There is a presumption that equitable, quality time with both parents is in the best interests of the kids, but that's not absolute - you'll need to show proof that unsupervised visits are NOT in the children's best interests.

Your local county child services offices may have resources that can help you with this. You should contact them if you already have not.

Please consider consulting with an attorney to help you put the case together for your petition. The Wisconsin State Bar has a lawyer referral service that can connect you with a qualified attorney and get an initial consultation for a very reasonable fee. Please see

This reply is not and should never be considered
"legal advice." If you need legal advice, consult
a licensed attorney in your state to make sure you
understand both your state and federal laws concerning
your issue. Your attorney will need specific and
complete facts to provide you with legal advice.

No attorney-client relationship has been created by this reply.


It will be difficult for you to make your case without legal representation. You asked in your follow up question whether witnesses can appear by telephone. They can, if the Court gives them permission to do so in advance. So, if you are representing yourself, you would need to write the Court and ask for permission before the hearing. If permission is denied, your witnesses will have to appear in person.

It is impossible to tell you how to put together your case for the Judge. The best interests of your children are at risk. You need to convince the Judge through legally acceptable evidence that your children's father cannot provide safe supervision during placement. You will need testimony from people who have first hand knowledge - not hearsay information - about his drinking. Having a trial is not like telling your story. The Rules of Evidence control what a Judge will and will not allow you to put into evidence.

Try to find a way to get legal representation.

Disclaimer: Answering this question does not create an attorney client relationship. It is not legal advice.

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