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Visitation Rights of Other Persons Guide

This packet may be used by individuals who are not parents of a child to seek visitation rights as described in Wisconsin Statute 767.43.  The marital status of the child’s parents determines the procedure and eligibility for those seeking rights.  If you are seeking visitation rights to more than one child and those children do not have the same parents, you must file separate actions for each child.

The following individuals may seek visitation rights to a child if the child is:

1.  A Marital Child (child whose parents were ever married to each other)

• Grandparents,
• Great grandparents,
• Stepparents,
• Other persons who have maintained a relationship with the child similar to a parent-child relationship
* A new case must be filed

2.  A Non-Marital Child (child whose parents have never been married to each other)

• Grandparents
* Open a new case file or file within an existing case affecting the family of the child. This packet follows a Waukesha County Family Court procedure that directs individuals to open a new case file.  If you choose to file within an existing case please seek legal assistance. 

Laws that govern the Family Court and Visitation Rights of Certain Persons are very complex and change often.  These forms are intended to be useful in many situations, but may not apply to your case, or may have to be changed in some way to fit your case.  You are encouraged to seek legal assistance to verify that these forms are the most appropriate for your situation, as the Family Division Office staff cannot give legal advice.

Fees:  Same as filing a Divorce with no request for support. (See fee schedule)

Procedural Checklist

1.  Complete the Summons for Visitation Rights.

2.  Complete ONLY one of the following Petitions:

a. Petition for Grandparent Visitation Rights for Non-marital Child(ren):
Complete this form ONLY if you are a grandparent of a child whose parents have never been married to each other.  Note:  If paternity has not yet been determined, the court must wait to hear this request until paternity has been established.

b. Petition for Visitation Rights for Marital Children:
Complete this form if you are a grandparent, great-grandparent, stepparent, or person who has maintained a relationship with the child similar to a parent-child relationship when the parents of the children were ever married to each other. 

3.  Date and sign the original forms.

4.  Make the following copies of each form:

• 1 for every Petitioner
• 2 for every Respondent (one for each parent and one each for process service)
• 1 for the GAL if already appointed

You can make your own copies in the Family Division Office for $.25 per page on the coin-operated copier.  Please bring cash as it accepts $1, $5, $10 bills and coins only.

5.  Staple the two forms into packets with the Summons on top.

6.  Come to the Family Division Office between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to have your forms reviewed for completeness.

7. Go to the Family Division Office Customer Service window to file the original and all copies of your documents and to pay the filing fee.  The clerk will authenticate your copies and assign the case to a Judge.   *Whenever possible, the case will be assigned to the same judge who is assigned to an existing related case.

8. You must now arrange to have the authenticated copies of the Summons and Petition forms SERVED on the Respondents.  Service Packets that explain the options for how to have someone served are available in the Court Self-Help Center.

9. After the other parties have been served, you must file in the Family Division Office an original proof of service (Affidavit of Service or Admission of Service) for each person you had served.

10. Once the clerk has received proof that all other parties have been served, the clerk will set a date for a Pre-Trial Conference.  The clerk will mail information on the date of the hearing and any related information to you and all other parties.                   

11. OPTIONAL: If you would like to attempt to reach an agreement with the other party (with the assistance of a mediator) before going to court, you may request mediation by following the steps below:

a. Complete the Mediation Referral Form.
b. Make two (2) copies.
c. Send one copy to each parent and submit the original to the address on the form.
d. The court will send an Order to the parties to attend the mediation along with fee information.
e. If the Mediation is successful, you may file a stipulation with the court and send a written request to have the hearing cancelled (send copies to the parents)
f. If the Mediation is NOT successful, proceed with # 12.

12. Prepare for Court.  Be sure to collect, organize, and copy all items (enough copies for each party and the Judge) you will be presenting on your behalf.  If you would like the Court to consider information/testimony from other people, you must have them appear in person.  Letters from them are not enough and are considered to be hearsay.  Prepare an outline for your own use to organize the information you want to present.

13. Go to the assigned courtroom at least 20 minutes before your court time and let the bailiff or court clerk know on which case you are appearing.  Take a copy of the Affidavit of Service or Admission of Service and any other documents you think may help you make your case to the Court. 

14.  When your case is called, go to the front of the room and sit where directed by the Court or bailiff.  Take all your papers and documents with you.

15. Present your case to the Judge as directed.  Be prepared to state your side of each issue clearly and completely.  Be prepared to answer questions that may be asked of you by the Court or by the other side.  If you wish to offer written evidence or documents to the Court, give the original to the Court and a copy to the other side. 

16. The Judge will state his/her decisions/rulings/recommendations to you.  Take notes because you must be able to write this information in a specific format called an Order.  The Court may set a Trial Date or Review Hearing for the parties to return to court.

17. Complete the original Order form and make two (2) copies for each party to the case, including yourself.

18. Send one copy to each of the other parties so they may review the Order and object to accuracy, if necessary. 

19.  On the same day you send the Order to the other party(s), file the original and the remaining copies of the Order in the Family Court Office.  Also include a stamped envelope addressed to each party, including yourself.

20. The Court will hold the Order for five (5) days to give the other parties time to review the Order and object to its accuracy.  If there are no objections within the five days, the Court will review, may sign, and return the Order to you and the other parties in the envelopes provided.

Line-By-Line Form Instructions

Summons For Visitation Rights
This form notifies the respondent(s) that the petitioner(s) has/have filed a lawsuit or other legal action against him/her/them.

Caption: Write the first name, middle initial, last names, and addresses of the parties as directed.  If you are the only individual requesting visitation, you may leave the second Petitioner section blank.   You must include the information for both of the child(ren)’s parents.  The Court will assign a case number when you file the papers.

Read paragraphs 1-6.  These paragraphs describe to the child(ren)’s parents what these documents mean and what they must do in response to receiving them. 

Signature(s): Sign and date the last page. If two Petitioners, both must sign and date.


Petition For Grandparents Visitation Rights for Non-marital Child(ren)
This form is used by grandparents to ask for visitation rights to non-marital child(ren).

Caption: Complete the caption (top portion) of the form by writing the first name, middle initial, and last names of the parties in the same order in which they appeared on the Summons.  

1. Write the names and dates of birth of the minor child(ren) for whom you are asking visitation.

3. Check either A or B.  If B is checked, please read the paragraph.

6. Write why you think it is in the child(ren)’s best interest that you have visitation with the child(ren).

8. You must arrange to have the parents served with the Summons and Petition.

Signature(s): Date and sign the Petition.  If two Petitioners, both must sign and date.


Petition For Visitation Rights for Marital Children
This form allows grandparents and others to ask the Court for visitation rights of marital children.

Caption: Complete the caption (top portion) of the form by writing the first name, middle initial, and last names of the parties in the same order in which they appeared on the Summons. 

1. Mark an X in the appropriate box and write the names and dates of birth of the child(ren) for whom you are asking visitation.

2. Write the names of the child(ren)’s parent on the appropriate lines. 

3. Write why you think it is in the child(ren)’s best interest that you have visitation with the child(ren).

4. Write the visitation schedule you are requesting.

6. You must arrange to have the parents served with the Summons and Petition.

Signature(s): Sign and date the bottom of the Petition.  If two Petitioners, both must sign and date.


Order for Visitation Rights of Other Persons
This form reflects in writing the Judge’s verbal orders and decisions. Without this written Order, the court cannot enforce what was decided.

Caption: Write the first name, middle initial, and last names of the parties in the same order in which they appeared on the Summons.  Write the Case number assigned to this case.

I. Hearing
1. Write in the name of the Court Official before whom you appeared.
2. Write in the date of the hearing.

II. Appearances 
Mark the boxes for all those who appeared at the hearing.  If represented, write the name of the attorney(s).  If an attorney for the State of Wisconsin was present, write in the name of the State’s Attorney.

III. Findings
This section reflects the facts that the court determined before making a decision.  You must enter the information as stated by the court. DO NOT include the court’s decision in this section.

IV. Order
Write the decision(s) the court made in this section.  Be specific and only complete those sections that apply to the court’s decision.  When preparing this document, you may review your court file or order a transcript of the hearing.

Signatures
Do Not sign and date the order. The court official who heard your case will sign and date.

Do complete the bottom of the form by verifying for the court that you will be mailing a copy to the other party(s) for their review.

Court Related Offices

Please note that our Family Division Customer Services and Court Self-Help Center Services have been consolidated to provide more comprehensive and efficient services to our customers.

Clerk of Circuit Court, Family Division Office

Waukesha County Courthouse, Rm C-112
515 W. Moreland Blvd.
Waukesha, WI 53188

262-548-7544
http://courtselfhelp.waukeshacounty.gov

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Available Services:

Accept Filings and Fees
Distribution of Forms, Packets, & Procedural Guides (fees may apply)
Notary Public Services
Coin-Operated Copier: $ .25/pp  *Please bring cash as the copier accepts $1, $5, $10 bills and coins only.
Review of forms for completeness: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Subject Area Workshops:  Workshops have been suspended effective July 1, 2011 due to staffing issues.  We are working to provide a version of the Workshops online and will let you know when it is available.

Written materials and information provided in the Workshops are available on the Family Division Court Self-Help website.  http://courtselfhelp.waukeshacounty.gov.   We suggest that you work through these materials and prepare the appropriate forms as much as possible.  If you have questions or want your forms reviewed for completeness, come to the Family Division office Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm.  A customer service representative will answer your questions and review your documents for you.

Family Legal Clinic (By Appointment and Referral ONLY): Wednesdays with appointments starting at 3:15 p.m.

20 minutes of free legal advice for unrepresented litigants 

Family Court Services

Waukesha County Courthouse, Rm C-345
515 W Moreland Boulevard
Waukesha, WI 53188

262-548-7900
www.waukeshacounty.gov/CourtDivisions.aspx?id=21190

Office Hours: Monday -Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Available Services: Child physical placement related mediation and studies/evaluations

Waukesha County Child Support Enforcement Agency

Administration Building, Room 348
515 W. Moreland Blvd.
Waukesha WI 53188

414-615-2586
http://www.waukeshacounty.gov/defaultwc.aspx?id=38550

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

 

 


 


Page Last Updated: 4/23/2011 11:05:49 AM

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