The general purposes of this chapter are to do all of the following:
(a) Avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in 20
matters of child custody that have in the past resulted in the shifting of children from 21
state to state with harmful effects on their well-being.
(b) Promote cooperation with the courts of other states to the end that a custody 23
decree is rendered in the state that can best decide the case in the interest of the child.
(c) Discourage the use of the interstate system for continuing controversies 25
over child custody.
(d) Deter abductions of children.
(e) Avoid relitigation in this state of custody decisions of other states.
(f) Facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states.
. In this chapter:
"Abandoned" means left without provision for reasonable and necessary 6
care or supervision.
"Child" means an individual who has not attained 18 years of age.
"Child custody determination" means a judgment, decree, or other order of 9
a court providing for legal custody, physical custody, physical placement, or visitation 10
with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, and 11
modification order. The term does not include an order relating to child support or 12
other monetary obligation of an individual.
"Child custody proceeding" means a proceeding in which legal custody, 14
physical custody, physical placement, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. 15
The term includes a proceeding for divorce, legal separation, neglect, abuse, 16
dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection 17
from domestic violence, in which the issue may appear. "Child custody proceeding" 18
does not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual 19
emancipation, or enforcement under subch. III.
"Commencement" means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding.
"Court" means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, 22
enforce, or modify a child custody determination.
"Home state" means the state in which a child lived with a parent or a 24
person acting as a parent for at least 6 consecutive months immediately before the 25
commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than 6
months of age, the term means the state in which the child lived from birth with any 2
of the persons mentioned in this subsection. A period of temporary absence of any 3
of the persons mentioned in this subsection is part of the period.
"Initial determination" means the first child custody determination 5
concerning a particular child.
"Issuing court" means the court that makes a child custody determination 7
for which enforcement is sought under this chapter.
"Issuing state" means the state in which a child custody determination is 9
"Modification" means a child custody determination that changes, 11
replaces, supersedes, or is otherwise made after a previous determination 12
concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the 13
"Person" means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, 15
partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, or government; 16
governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality; public corporation; or any 17
other legal or commercial entity.
"Person acting as a parent" means a person, other than a parent, to whom 19
all of the following apply:
(a) He or she has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for 21
a period of 6 consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year 22
immediately before the commencement of a child custody proceeding.
(b) He or she has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal 24
custody under the law of this state.
"Physical custody" means the physical care and supervision of a child.
"State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, 2
Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject 3
to the jurisdiction of the United States.
"Tribe" means an American Indian tribe or band, or Alaskan Native 5
village, that is recognized by federal law or formally acknowledged by a state.
"Warrant" means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement 7
officers to take physical custody of a child.
8822.03 Proceedings governed by other law.
This chapter does not govern 9
an adoption proceeding or a proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency 10
medical care for a child.
11822.04 Application to Indian tribes. (1)
A child custody proceeding that 12
pertains to an Indian child as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC 1901 13
et seq., is not subject to this chapter to the extent that it is governed by the Indian 14
Child Welfare Act.
A court of this state shall treat a tribe as if it were a state for the purpose 16
of applying subchs. I and II.
A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances 18
in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of this chapter shall be 19
recognized and enforced under subch. III.
20822.05 International application. (1)
A court of this state shall treat a 21
foreign country as if it were a state for the purpose of applying this subchapter and 22
Except as provided in sub. (3), a child custody determination made in a 24
foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the
jurisdictional standards of this chapter shall be recognized and enforced under 2
A court of this state need not apply this chapter if the child custody law of 4
a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.
5822.06 Effect of child custody determination.
A child custody 6
determination made by a court of this state that had jurisdiction under this chapter 7
binds all persons who have been served in accordance with the laws of this state or 8
notified in accordance with s. 822.08 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the 9
court, and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. As to those persons, the 10
determination is conclusive as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the 11
extent that the determination is modified.
If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under this 13
chapter is raised in a child custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, 14
shall be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.
15822.08 Notice to persons outside state. (1)
Notice required for the exercise 16
of jurisdiction when a person is outside this state may be given in a manner 17
prescribed by the law of this state for service of process or by the law of the state in 18
which the service is made. Notice shall be given in a manner reasonably calculated 19
to give actual notice but may be by publication if other means are not effective.
Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by law of this state 21
or by the law of the state in which the service is made.
Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person 23
who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.
24822.09 Appearance and limited immunity. (1)
A party to a child custody 25
proceeding, including a modification proceeding, or a petitioner or respondent in a
proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination, is not subject to 2
personal jurisdiction in this state for another proceeding or purpose solely by reason 3
of having participated, or of having been physically present for the purpose of 4
participating, in the proceeding.
A person who is subject to personal jurisdiction in this state on a basis other 6
than physical presence is not immune from service of process in this state. A party 7
present in this state who is subject to the jurisdiction of another state is not immune 8
from service of process allowable under the laws of that state.
The immunity granted by sub. (1) does not extend to civil litigation based 10
on acts unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under this chapter committed 11
by an individual while present in this state.
12822.10 Communication between courts. (1)
In this section, "record" 13
means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an 14
electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
A court of this state may communicate with a court in another state 16
concerning a proceeding arising under this chapter.
The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the 18
parties are not able to participate in the communication, they shall be given the 19
opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is 20
Communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and 22
similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made 23
of the communication.
Except as provided in sub. (4), a record shall be made of a communication 2
under this section. The parties shall be informed promptly of the communication and 3
granted access to the record.
4822.11 Taking testimony in another state. (1)
In addition to other 5
procedures available to a party, a party to a child custody proceeding may offer 6
testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the 7
parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowable in this state for 8
testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the 9
testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in 10
which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.
A court of this state may permit an individual residing in another state to 12
be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means 13
before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this state 14
shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for 15
the deposition or testimony.
Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this 17
state by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be 18
excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.
19822.12 Cooperation between courts; preservation of records. (1)
court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to do any of the 21
(a) Hold an evidentiary hearing.
(b) Order a person to produce or give evidence under procedures of that state.
(c) Order that an evaluation be made with respect to the custody of a child 25
involved in a pending proceeding.
(d) Forward to the court of this state a certified copy of the transcript of the 2
record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise presented, and any evaluation 3
prepared in compliance with the request.
(e) Order a party to a child custody proceeding or any person having physical 5
custody of the child to appear in the proceeding with or without the child.
Upon request of a court of another state, a court of this state may hold a 7
hearing or enter an order described in sub. (1).
Travel and other necessary and reasonable expenses incurred under subs. 9
(1) and (2) may be assessed against the parties according to the law of this state.
A court of this state shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records 11
of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child custody 12
proceeding until the child attains 18 years of age. Upon appropriate request by a 13
court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward a certified 14
copy of those records.
17822.21 Initial child custody jurisdiction. (1)
Except as provided in s. 18
822.24, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial determination only if 19
any of the following applies:
(a) This state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement 21
of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within 6 months before the 22
commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent 23
or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state.
(b) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under par. (a), or a court 25
of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that
this state is the more appropriate forum under s. 822.27 or 822.28, and all of the 2
1. The child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one parent or a 4
person acting as a parent, have a significant connection with this state other than 5
mere physical presence.
2. Substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child's care, 7
protection, training, and personal relationships.
(c) All courts having jurisdiction under par. (a) or (b) have declined to exercise 9
jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to 10
determine the custody of the child under s. 822.27 or 822.28.
(d) No court of any other state would have jurisdiction under the criteria 12
specified in par. (a), (b), or (c).
Subsection (1) is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child 14
custody determination by a court of this state.
Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not 16
necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.
17822.22 Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction. (1)
Except as provided in s. 18
822.24, a court of this state that has made a child custody determination consistent 19
with s. 822.21 or 822.23 has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the 20
determination until any of the following occurs:
(a) A court of this state determines that neither the child, nor the child and one 22
parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent have a significant connection 23
with this state and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this state 24
concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships.
(b) A court of this state or a court of another state determines that the child, 2
the child's parents, and all persons acting as parents do not presently reside in this 3
A court of this state that has made a child custody determination and that 5
does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under this section may modify that 6
determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under s. 7
8822.23 Jurisdiction to modify determination.
Except as provided in s. 9
822.24, a court of this state may not modify a child custody determination made by 10
a court of another state unless a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial 11
determination under s. 822.21 (1) (a) or (b) and one of the following applies:
The court of the other state determines that it no longer has exclusive, 13
continuing jurisdiction under s. 822.22 or that a court of this state would be a more 14
convenient forum under s. 822.27.
A court of this state or a court of the other state determines that the child, 16
the child's parents, and all persons acting as parents do not presently reside in the 17
18822.24 Temporary emergency jurisdiction. (1)
A court of this state has 19
temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this state and the child 20
has been abandoned or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because 21
the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with 22
mistreatment or abuse.
If there is no previous child custody determination that is entitled to be 24
enforced under this chapter and a child custody proceeding has not been commenced 25
in a court of a state having jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23, a child custody
determination made under this section remains in effect until an order is obtained 2
from a court of a state having jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23. If a child 3
custody proceeding has not been or is not commenced in a court of a state having 4
jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23, a child custody determination made under 5
this section becomes a final determination, if it so provides and this state becomes 6
the home state of the child.
If a previous child custody determination is entitled to be enforced under 8
this chapter, or a child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state 9
having jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23, any order issued by a court of this 10
state under this section shall specify in the order a period that the court considers 11
adequate to allow the person seeking an order to obtain an order from the state 12
having jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23. The order issued in this state remains 13
in effect until an order is obtained from the other state within the period specified 14
or until the period expires.
A court of this state that has been asked to make a child custody 16
determination under this section, upon being informed that a child custody 17
proceeding has been commenced in, or that a child custody determination has been 18
made by, a court of a state having jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23, shall 19
immediately communicate with the other court. A court of this state that is 20
exercising jurisdiction under ss. 822.21 to 822.23, upon being informed that a child 21
custody proceeding has been commenced in, or that a child custody determination 22
has been made by, a court of another state under a statute similar to this section, 23
shall immediately communicate with the court of that state to resolve the emergency, 24
protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration 25
of the temporary order.
1822.25 Notice; opportunity to be heard; joinder. (1)
Before a child custody 2
determination is made under this chapter, notice and an opportunity to be heard in 3
accordance with the standards of s. 822.08 shall be given to all persons entitled to 4
notice under the law of this state as in child custody proceedings between residents 5
of this state, any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated, 6
and any person having physical custody of the child.
This chapter does not govern the enforceability of a child custody 8
determination made without notice or an opportunity to be heard.
The obligation to join a party and the right to intervene as a party in a child 10
custody proceeding under this chapter are governed by the law of this state as in child 11
custody proceedings between residents of this state.
12822.26 Simultaneous proceedings. (1)
Except as provided in s. 822.24, a 13
court of this state may not exercise its jurisdiction under this subchapter if, at the 14
time of the commencement of the proceeding, a proceeding concerning the custody 15
of the child has been commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction 16
substantially in conformity with this chapter, unless the proceeding has been 17
terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this state 18
is a more convenient forum under s. 822.27.
Except as provided in s. 822.24, a court of this state, before hearing a child 20
custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information 21
supplied by the parties under s. 822.29. If the court determines that a child custody 22
proceeding has been commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction 23
substantially in accordance with this chapter, the court of this state shall stay its 24
proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state 25
having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with this chapter does not determine
that the court of this state is a more appropriate forum, the court of this state shall 2
dismiss the proceeding.
In a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a court of this state 4
shall determine whether a proceeding to enforce the determination has been 5
commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination 6
has been commenced in another state, the court may do any of the following:
(a) Stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court 8
of the other state enforcing, staying, denying, or dismissing the proceeding for 9
(b) Enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement.
(c) Proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.