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Family Court Division

Local Court Rules

Adopted: September 24, 1996
Effective: November 1, 1996
Last Revision: August 4, 2010

Rule 1: Assignments, Filings & Scheduling

1.1 Case Assignment
1.2 Duty Judge Rescinded
1.3 Pleadings Revised
1.4 Approval Of Indigency Filings
1.5 Adjournments
1.6 Scheduling Of Trials Revised September 1, 2001
1.7 Facsimile Transmission Of Documents To The Court New July 2001; Revised March 31, 2003

Rule 2: Motion Hearings

2.1 Pre-Judgment Matters Revised February 20, 2007
2.2 Post-Judgment Matters Revised February 20, 2007
2.3 Financial Disclosure Statements
2.4 Stipulated Temporary Orders
2.5 Discovery New December 12, 2005

Rule 3: Income Assignment

3.1 Mandatory Income Assignment Revised March 26, 2002
3.2 Vacation Of Income Assignment Revised March 26, 2002; Rewritten August 4, 2010

Rule 4: Arrearage

4.1 Arrearage In Judgment Of Divorce
4.2 Interest Rescinded March 26, 2002

Rule 5: Findings Of Fact, Conclusions Of Law, And Judgment Of Divorce

5.1 Final Papers
5.2 Untimely Filing

Rule 6: Family Court Counseling Service

6.1 Referral
6.2 Mandatory Mediation
6.3 Fees Revised November 7, 2002

Rule 7: Guardian Ad Litem

7.1 Attorney List
7.2 Guardian Ad Litem Appointment Revised April 9, 2002; Revised September 1, 20003
7.3 Compensation
7.4 Guardian Ad Litem Procedure - Fees Revised September 1, 2003
7.5 Termination Of Duties Renumbered From 7.4 September 1, 20003

Rule 8: Temporary Restraining Orders And Injunctions

8.1 Assignment Revised
8.2 Filing In Family Court Actions

Rule 9: Appraisals

9.1 Court Appointed Appraisers
9.2 Independent Appraisers
9.3 Updated Appraisals

Rule 10: Five (5) Day Rule

10.1 Submission Of Orders/Judgments - Five Day Rule Revised

Rule 11: Abridgement Of Judgment

11.1 Real Estate
11.2 Real Estate Description Revised

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Rule 1: Assignments, Filings & Scheduling

1.1 Case Assignment

All actions affecting the family as defined in Chapter 767, Wis. Stats., shall be filed in the family court division and assigned to a family court division judge using a random system approved by the chief judge of the Third Judicial Administrative District.

1.3 Pleadings

Original pleadings shall be filed in the Waukesha County clerk of courts office after the payment of the appropriate statutory fee. Copies of all pleadings shall be served on the family court commissioner - this provision is accomplished by Clerk of Court staff admitting service for the family court commissioner at the time of filing. All original pre-judgment orders to show cause, including those for temporary relief, shall be scheduled and heard by the family court commissioner. Original pleadings with proof of service, along with an authenticated copy of the summons and petition, shall be filed with the family clerk of courts office within the statutory time limit. A notice of retainer shall be filed by a party's attorney with the family clerk of courts office.

1.4 Approval of Indigency Filings

Family court division judges and/or family court commissioners may approve an affidavit of indigency and execute an order waiving the payment of fees and costs as provided in sec. 814.29, Wis. Stats., for any matter filed in the family court division. Fees and/or costs waived at the time of filing may be assessed against one of the parties at a subsequent hearing or by final order.

1.5 Adjournements

Any request for an adjournment shall be made in writing and shall specify the reason for such request. Any non-emergency request shall be preceded by or made simultaneous with notice to all parties. Once a matter is scheduled for a hearing, an adjournment will be granted only with the permission of the assigned judge or court commissioner.

1.6 Scheduling of Trials

Contested divorce trials shall be scheduled only after completion of a pretrial conference with the assigned family court division judge. A pretrial conference shall be scheduled after filing proof of service upon the respondent and the family court commissioner of an authenticated copy of the summons and petition unless a joint petition for divorce is filed. The standard pretrial conference order shall be used in all pending matters. The foregoing provisions shall not apply to collaborative divorce cases in which the parties and their attorneys have signed a collaborative divorce agreement and filed the same with the court at the same time a joint petition or proof of service is filed. In such cases, the clerk of court shall not schedule a pre-trial conference unless and until the parties have filed a written revocation of their collaborative divorce agreement. The standard pretrial conference order shall not apply to collaborative divorce cases as long as they retain their collaborative status. The only hearing which shall be scheduled in collaborative cases is a default hearing, to be scheduled upon filing of a complete marital settlement agreement, provided the 120 day waiting period has elapsed. All collaborative divorce cases shall be scheduled for status conference and possible dismissal one (1) year from date of filing, unless otherwise ordered by the court.

1.7 Facsimile Transmission of Documents to the Court

(a) Effective 4-1-93; modified 7-1-01 in conjunction with Supreme Court Order No. 00-09, dated April 3, 2001.

(b) Facsimile documents transmitted directly to the court shall be accepted for filing if:

(1) The Circuit Court has a facsimile machine capable of reproducing documents that meet the Supreme Court Rule 72.01 concerning retention of filed documents. Only plain paper facsimile machines currently comply with this requirement.

(2) The Circuit Court has a facsimile machine physically located within the offices of the Clerk of Circuit Court.

(3) The document shall not exceed fifteen (15) pages in length, excluding cover sheet. Further, a cost of $3.00 per page above the limit will be assessed unless prior waiver of the limit is obtained from the court. (Based on the local rule, facsimiles exceeding fifteen (15) pages per document, excluding the cover sheet, will not be accepted for filing.)

(4) No filing fee is required.

(5) No additional fee or charge must be paid by the Circuit Court for accepting or receiving the facsimile document.

(6) Documents that are not to be filed but are to be used by the Court for reference or other purpose may be transmitted by facsimile transmission at the discretion of the Judge or Clerk of Circuit Court.

(c) Facsimile documents transmitted to a non-court agency, party or company for reception and ultimate transmittal to the court shall be accepted for filing only if:

(1) No filing fee is required.

(2) No additional fee or charge must be paid by the Circuit Court for accepting or receiving the facsimile document.

(d) The party transmitting the facsimile document is solely responsible for ensuring its timely and complete receipt.

(e) The Circuit Court Judge or Clerk is not responsible for:

(1) Errors or failures in transmission that result in missing or illegible documents.

(2) Periods when a Circuit Court facsimile machine is not operational for any reason.

(f) A Judge assigned to a particular matter may authorize in advance the filing of particular documents in that case that do not conform to these rules if good cause is shown and they are in conformance with '801.16.

(g) Documents that are not to be filed but are to be used by the Court for reference or other purpose may be transmitted by facsimile transmission at the discretion of the Judge or Clerk.

(h) Copies of documents from court files shall not be transmitted by facsimile machine without the appropriate costs being received in advance. The facsimile machine shall not be utilized in an effort to avoid payment of statutory photocopy costs.

(i) If correspondence or a document is transmitted by facsimile machine, original documents are not to be mailed to the Clerk of Courts office for filing. Original documents are to be maintained by the signing party or his/her attorney. A cost assessment for pages filed in violation of this rule will be $3.00 per page. Originals filed will be returned or destroyed.

(j) Any requests for confidential transmission shall be submitted to the Clerk of Courts for review and approval.

(k) The Clerk of Courts facsimile machine will be operational during regular county business hours.

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Rule 2: Motion Hearings

2.1 Pre-Judgment Matters

A pre-judgment motion or order to show cause seeking temporary orders on matters which include, without limitation, legal custody, physical placement of children, vacation of premises, support, maintenance, attorney fees, payment of debt, and possession of real and personal property, shall be scheduled before the family court commissioner with the right to a de novo hearing before the assigned family court division judge. Any such order shall be approved of by the family court commissioner. A motion for a de novo hearing must be filed within ten (10) days of the date any finding(s), recommendation(s), decision(s) or order(s) is entered into the automated court record. A motion for a de novo hearing will not stay the order(s) unless a family court division judge specifically grants a stay of said order(s). An order rendered by the family court commissioner shall be reduced to writing by the moving party unless otherwise directed.

2.2 Post-Judgment Matters

A post-judgment motion or order to show cause shall be scheduled for a hearing after payment of the appropriate statutory fee. Post-judgment matters shall be heard by the family court division judge who is assigned to the case file, provided he/she is still assigned to the family division. When a family court division judge has completed his/her original rotation in the family court division, the post-judgment matter shall be heard by the judge who succeeded the formerly assigned departing judge. Any post-judgment matter may be assigned based upon calendar availability to an assistant family court commissioner, excluding motions for modification of legal custody and/or physical placement. A motion for a de novo hearing shall be filed within ten (10) days of the date any finding(s), recommendation(s), decision(s) or order(s) is entered into the automated court record. A motion for a de novo review shall not stay the order(s) unless a family court division judge specifically grants a stay of the order(s). Upon filing a post-judgment motion or order to show cause involving a request for modification of legal custody and/or physical placement, the parties shall automatically be referred to the family court counseling service agency for mediation.

2.3 Financial Disclosure Statements

A motion or order to show cause seeking to establish or modify child support, family support and/or maintenance shall contain language requiring both parties to submit to the court at the scheduled hearing a completed financial disclosure statement and verification of income for three (3) months prior to the hearing date. Failure to comply may result in dismissal of the matter, continuance and/or assessment of costs.

2.4 Stipulated Temporary Orders

A stipulated temporary order which provides for child support, family support and/or maintenance shall contain the following information: the current addresses and social security numbers of both parties, the names and addresses of the parties' employers, the names, social security numbers and birth dates of any minor children, the language required by sec. 767.263, 767.29(1) and 814.61(12)(b), Wis Stats., and the language required by these family court division rules.

2.5 Discovery

Civil Rule 3 as amended is incorporated herein.

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Rule 3: Income Assignment

3.1 Mandatory Income Assignment

An order, either stipulated to or contested, establishing or modifying child support, family support or maintenance payments shall contain language providing for an immediate implementation of an income assignment. If an income assignment is not to be implemented, the order shall state the specific reason for not doing so, such as the payor would suffer irreparable harm or that the payor is self-employed.

3.2 Vacation or Maintenance of Income Assignment after 18th Birthday of Child

a. Any income assignment for current child support shall terminate on the last/only child's 18th birthday.

b. If the child is still pursuing a high school education at the time of his/her 18th birthday, the child support office must be provided with a currently dated letter from the child's school, on school letterhead, that states that the child is enrolled and attending classees and the date of expected graduation.  This letter must be provided to the child support office before the child's 18th birthday.  A copy of the letter must be provied to the child support office and to any other party under the local five-day rule.  Upon receipt of this letter and proof that a copy was provided to the other party, the income assignment for child support will be continued through the anticipated date of graduation, or to age 19, whichever occurs first.

c. If the letter described in part b above is received after the child's 18th birthday, the party seeking to extend child support must file a stipulation or motion with the court.

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Rule 4: Arrearage

4.1 Arrearage in Judgment of Divorce

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, an arrearage from a child support, family support and/or maintenance order which was entered prior to the granting of the judgment of divorce, shall be carried forward and indicated as an arrearage in the judgment of divorce.

Rule 5: Findings of Fact Conclusions of Law, and Judgment

5.1 Final Papers

The findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce shall be drafted by the petitioner or petitioner's attorney and shall be submitted to the court and filed with the family clerk of court within thirty (30) days after judgment is granted. If the respondent is represented by an attorney, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce shall be submitted to the respondent's attorney for approval. If the respondent is not represented by an attorney, the petitioner shall submit the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce to the respondent for approval unless the respondent waives such requirement. After the necessary approval is obtained, the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce shall be submitted to the court for approval. Final marital settlement agreements shall be appended to the judgment of divorce and shall be incorporated by reference therein. An original and three (3) copies of the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce shall be filed after payment of the statutory fee. The submitting party shall also include self addressed stamped envelopes so that a conformed copy of the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce can be returned to the parties and their respective attorneys.

5.2 Untimely Filing

If the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce are not filed within thirty (30) days after the judgment of divorce is granted, the family clerk of courts office shall initiate an order to show cause for contempt against the party and/or the party's attorney who is responsible for the untimely filing of such documents, and the court may impose appropriate sanctions.

Rule 6: Family Court Counseling Services

6.1 Referral

The Waukesha County family court counseling service agency (FCCS) shall provide mediation and evaluation services to help resolve legal custody and/or physical placement disputes in actions affecting the family. Parties shall be referred to FCCS by order of the court.

6.2 Mandatory Mediaton

Upon receipt of an order from the court, an appointment will be scheduled with the parties for mandatory mediation. During this initial session the parties will meet with the mediator to define legal custody and/or physical placement issues which require resolution. The mediator will offer options for the parties' consideration in an effort to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. In lieu of an agreement, the parties and the mediator will make a decision whether to continue mediation or refer the matter for a legal custody and/or physical placement study. If an agreement is reached in mediation, each party will receive a copy of the agreement. The court, the parties' attorneys and the guardian ad litem, if one is appointed, shall also receive a copy of the agreement. If mediation is unsuccessful, a letter which sets forth the status of the case shall be sent to the court, the parties' attorneys and the guardian ad litem. The court shall then order the parties to cooperate in a home study which addresses legal custody and/or physical placement issues in dispute.

6.3 Fees

Fees for mediation and a study involving legal custody and/or physical placement shall be established by statute and County Board Ordinance. Presently, the initial mediation session is free. Any subsequent mediation session costs $300, effective November 1, 2002. The fee for a legal custody and/or physical placement study is presently $600, effective November 1, 2002. Fees must be paid before further appointments are scheduled. Fees may be waived by the court after presentation of an affidavit of indigency.

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Rule 7: Guardian Ad Litem

7.1 Attorney List

Each family court division judge shall maintain a list of attorneys who are willing to accept guardian ad litem (GAL) appointments from the court. An attorney who wishes to be included on this list shall submit written verification of attendance at an approved GAL training seminar, or a resume of guardian ad litem experience, as well as evidence of malpractice insurance. Each family court division judge shall make his/her own GAL appointments and shall individually review all requests for compensation sought by a GAL.

7.2 Guardian Ad Litem Appointment

Upon notice to the court by FCCS that mediation was unsuccessful and that a legal custody and/or physical placement study is completed, a party may petition the court for the appointment of a GAL. The parties will be required to deposit the sum of $1,000 with the Waukesha County clerk of courts office which sum shall temporarily be held in trust by the clerk of courts office as partial payment for the GAL. The court shall then appoint a GAL to represent the best interests of the child(ren). After the Guardian ad Litem signs the Consent to Act, the retainer shall be transferred from the clerk of courts to the Guardian ad Litem’s trust account. If any party is financially unable to comply with this procedure, the court may waive the advancement of a portion of or the entire fee. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the court shall order the parties to be jointly and severally liable for repayment of the balance owed on the GAL fees. Unless the court orders otherwise, the court shall order as between the parties themselves, that each party is responsible for 50% of the balance owed on the GAL fees less any amounts previously paid by a party.

7.3 Compensation

Effective January 1, 1998, a GAL shall be compensated at the hourly rates established by the chief judge of the Third Judicial Administrative District. Currently compensation is set at $65 per hour. Any exceptions to this rate must be presented to and approved by the family court division judge who made the GAL appointment. An attorney desiring to serve in the capacity of a GAL shall be required to execute an agreement accepting the specified Waukesha County GAL rate of compensation and certain minimum performance standards.

7.4 Guardian Ad Litem Procedure-Fees

The Clerk of Courts shall transfer the initial retainer to the Guardian ad Litem’s trust account upon execution of the Consent to Act. The Guardian ad Litem shall send monthly billing statements to the parties. When the GAL’s bill exceeds $1,000 (or $2,000, $3,000, etc.), the GAL shall send a letter to the court with an Affidavit setting forth the fees and a proposed order. The order will authorize the transfer of the retainer from the GAL’s trust account to the GAL. It will also order the parties to pay an additional $1,000 to the GAL’s trust account as an additional retainer. This procedure is to be followed with every $1,000 increment in billing. If an additional retainer is not paid in a timely manner, the court will schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing to require the non-paying party to appear in court. The court may determine the ultimate apportionment of responsibility for the GAL fees. The GAL shall return any remaining funds left in the trust account to the parties after the final billing statement has been paid.

7.5 Termination of Duties

The duties and appointment of a GAL shall terminate upon completion of the proceedings or upon the minor child reaching the age of majority unless the family court division judge orders otherwise.

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Rule 8: Temporary Restraining Orders and Injunctions

8.1 Assignment

Where there is a pending or accompanying family court action, domestic abuse actions and child abuse restraining orders/injunctions with an adult respondent under chapter 813, Wis. Stats. shall be filed in the family court division. Where there is a pending or accompanying family court action, child abuse actions shall be filed in a civil case file but assigned to and heard by the family division judge who is assigned to said related family matter. All other child abuse matters are filed in civil case files and assigned to the family division judges on a rotating basis. Domestic abuse actions shall be heard by an assistant family court commissioner if available; otherwise, a family court division judge shall hear the matter. Child abuse actions shall be heard by a family court division judge.

8.2 Filing in Family Court Actions

A copy of any domestic abuse or child abuse injunction shall be filed in any pending family court matter as well as with the family court commissioner.

Rule 9: Appraisals

9.1 Court Appointed Appraisers

Fees for a court appointed appraiser shall be borne equally by the parties unless the court orders otherwise. The report of a court appointed appraiser will be received into evidence at trial without the necessity of calling the appraiser to testify. Any party may call the court appointed appraiser to testify at his/her own expense after submitting written notice to the other party at least thirty (30) days prior to trial.

9.2 Independent Appraisers

A party may object to the report of the court appointed appraiser and hire an independent appraiser provided written objection is given to the court and the opposing party within forty-five (45) days after receipt of the court appointed appraiser's report. An independent appraiser must testify at trial if the proponent wishes to introduce such evidence. All costs associated with an independent appraiser shall be the sole responsibility of the proponent of the independent appraiser with the right to ask the court for contribution from the opposing party. The report of an independent appraiser shall be furnished to the other party at least thirty (30) days prior to the commencement of the trial.

9.3 Updated Appraisals

All appraisals must be updated to the date of the actual divorce unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties and the court.

Rule 10: Submission of Orders and Judgments

10.1 Five (5) Day Rule

In the event a judge or court commissioner has rendered an oral ruling which must be reduced to writing, the party drafting such order or judgment shall, unless prior approval as to form is obtained in writing, submit the proposed draft to all parties at the time of or before submission to the court. If such submission clearly reflects submission to all parties and reference to this "five (5) day rule," then any objection to the form of such draft by any party must be received by the judge or court commissioner within five (5) days of receipt of the court of the draft. If the draft is submitted to the judge or court commissioner by mail, then the objection of any party must be received within eight (8) days of mailing. If the final day of a five (5) day period is a holiday or weekend, then the time will be extended through the next business day. Upon expiration of the five (5) day period, the judge or court commissioner may sign the order or judgment as submitted, alter it as he or she deems appropriate, or, schedule the matter for further proceedings.

Rule 11: Abridgment of Judgment

11.1 Real Estate

If the judgment of divorce affects title to real estate, a certified copy of the portion of the judgment of divorce affecting title to real estate shall be recorded in the office of the register of deeds in the county or counties where the affected real estate is located.

11.2 Real Estate Description

The description of real estate to be abridged shall be the legal description set forth in the judgment of divorce, or as identified in the Marital Settlement Agreement, which has been incorporated into the Judgment.

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Page Last Updated: 4/14/2011 05:19:23 PM

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