Waukesha County Family Court Division
Local Court Rules
Adopted: September 24, 1996
Effective: November 1, 1996
Last Revision: March 18, 2015
Rule 1: Filing,
Assignment, & Scheduling
actions affecting the family as defined in Chapter 767, Wis. Stats., should be
filed in the family division office of the Clerk of Courts. Original pleadings must
be accompanied by the payment of the appropriate statutory fee. Proof of
service of pleadings, with the attached authenticated pleading, must be filed
with the family division office within the statutory time limit.
family cases will be assigned to a family division judge using a primarily random
system approved by the chief judge of the Third Judicial Administrative
District. The Clerk of Courts will
promptly identify the assigned judge on the pleading.
Approval of Indigence Applications
division judges or court commissioners will consider and appropriately act upon
any affidavit of indigence as provided in sec. 814.29, Wis. Stats., for any matter
filed in the family division.
request for an adjournment shall be made in writing, unless in a last minute
emergency, and shall specify the reason for such request. Such request, as with
any filing, should conspicuously demonstrate that all other parties have been
copied. The requestor should attempt to
confer with all other parties before the request is made to the court. Once a matter is scheduled for any court
appearance, an adjournment will be granted only with the permission of the
assigned judge or court commissioner.
of Pre-Trial Conferences and Trials
action is for divorce, legal separation, or annulment; a pretrial conference
will be scheduled for shortly more than 120 days after filing proof of service
upon the respondent, or filing of the action for a joint petition. A standard
pretrial conference order shall be used. (In accordance with state statute, a
financial declaration will have been filed by each party well before the
divorce trials will be scheduled only upon completion of a pretrial conference
with the assigned family division judge.
Facsimile Transmission of Documents to the Court
(1) Any such document may not exceed fifteen (15)
pages in length, excluding cover sheet. A charge of $3.00 per page above the
limit will be assessed unless prior waiver of the limit is obtained from the
(2) Any applicable filing fee must be paid in
advance or simultaneously.
(3) If the forgoing rules are not complied with,
the Clerk need not accept or file such transmission.
(4) The party transmitting the
facsimile document is solely responsible for ensuring its timely and complete
receipt. The Circuit Court Judge or
Clerk is not responsible for errors or failures in transmission that result in missing
or illegible documents nor periods when a Clerk of Courts facsimile machine is
not operational for any reason.
(5) 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.
(6) The Clerk of Courts
facsimile machine will be operational only during regular county business
Rule 2: Motion Hearings
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, will ordinarily be
scheduled before a court commissioner. Orders to show cause must be approved by
a judge or court commissioner.
post-judgment motion or order to show cause shall be scheduled for a hearing
after payment of the appropriate statutory fee. Post-judgment matters will be
handled by the family division judge who is assigned to the case file, provided
he/she is still assigned to the family division. When a family division judge is
not then assigned to a family division caseload, the post-judgment matter shall
be heard by the judge who is currently assigned to that case. Any post-judgment
matter may be assigned based upon calendar availability to a court
commissioner, except all motions for modification of legal custody and/or
physical placement must be scheduled before the judge.
2.3 De Novo Review of Court Commissioner Decisions
who was present at a hearing, either in person or by counsel, held by a court
commissioner has the right to have a new hearing before the assigned judge upon
filing of a motion for de novo
review. A motion for a de novo
hearing must be filed within fifteen (15) calendar days of the oral decision of
the court commissioner, or within fifteen (15) calendar days of the mailing of
a written decision or order by the court commissioner if the decision or order
was not given orally by the court commissioner at the time of the hearing. Findings and orders entered by a court
commissioner upon stipulation or default are not subject to de novo review. Fifteen (15) calendar days are counted
consecutively and include weekends and holidays pursuant to Wis. Stat.
Financial Disclosure Statements
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.
Stipulated Temporary Orders
stipulated temporary order which provides for child support, family support
and/or maintenance shall contain the following information: the current addresses
of both parties, the names and addresses of the parties' employers, the names, and
birth dates of any minor children, and the language required by sec. 767.263,
767.29(1) and 814.61(12)(b), Wis Stats.
The social security numbers of the parties and affected children must be
on file in a confidential addendum, or otherwise provided.
The applicable rule
of the Civil Division is incorporated herein by reference.
Rule 3: Income
Information for and Issuance of Income Assignment
order establishing or modifying child support, family support or maintenance
payments should be accompanied by the current name and address of the payor’s
employer together with any other information needed for an income
assignment. An income assignment will
issue, unless a specific court order directs otherwise.
3.2 Vacation or Maintenance of Income
Assignment after 18th Birthday of Child
(1) Any income assignment for current child support
shall terminate on the last or only child's 18th birthday.
(2) If the child is still pursuing a high school
education at the time of his or her 18th birthday, the child support agency
must be provided with a currently dated and actually signed letter from the
child's school, on school letterhead, that states that the child is enrolled and
attending classes 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 provided 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
the letter described in (2) above is received after the child's 18th birthday, the
income assignment will be terminated unless a stipulation is filed or a court
order obtained upon proper motion to the court.
(4) If there exists an arrearage of unpaid child
support at the time an income assignment would otherwise be terminated as
described above, then such assignment will continue until the arrearage is
Rule 4: Arrearages
Arrearage in Judgment of Divorce
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, is carried forward and should be indicated as an arrearage
in the judgment of divorce.
Rule 5: Findings of Fact
Conclusions of Law, and Judgment
findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce, legal separation,
or annulment must 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 must submit the findings of
fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce to the respondent for approval
by counter signature or under the five day rule.
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 submitted.
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.
findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce, legal separation,
or annulment are not filed within thirty (30) days after the judgment is
granted, the family clerk of courts office shall calendar and notice a hearing
to dismiss the case due to such failure.
Rule 6: Family Court
Waukesha County Family Court Service agency (FCS) provides mediation and study
services to help resolve legal custody and/or physical placement disputes in
actions affecting the family. Parties may be referred to FCCS by order of the
receipt of an order from the court, an appointment will be scheduled with the
parties for mediation. During an 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 back to the Court.
agreement is reached in mediation, each party will receive a copy of the
agreement. The parties' attorneys and the guardian ad litem, if one is
appointed, shall also receive a copy of the agreement. The court will be sent
the agreement once both signed by the parties and any attorneys. 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 may
then order the parties to cooperate in a study which addresses legal custody
and/or physical placement issues in dispute.
for mediation and study involving legal custody and/or physical placement are established
by statute and County Board Ordinance. The current amounts will be available on
the court’s website or by calling the clerk’s office.
must be paid before services are provided, unless fees are waived by the court. Payment plans may be offered by the court.
Rule 7: Guardian Ad Litem
court division judge maintains a list of attorneys who are willing and
qualified to accept guardian ad litem
(GAL) appointments from the court.
attorney who wishes to be included on this list may submit a written request
with verification of attendance at an approved GAL training seminar, or a
resume of guardian ad litem experience, as well as a statement of malpractice
court division judge makes his/her own GAL appointments and individually reviews
requests for compensation sought by a GAL.
Guardian Ad Litem Appointment
party may petition, in writing or on the record, to the assigned judge for
appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem. Such request will be decided by the judge.
parties will ordinarily be required to deposit a sum of money with the Waukesha
County clerk of courts business office, which sum shall be held in trust by the
clerk of courts office as security towards payment for the GAL. The usual
amount of deposit rate is available on the court’s website or by calling the
clerk’s office. As payments are approved for disbursement to the GAL by the
judge, additional deposits may be required.
judge will determine which party deposits what amounts and may allow payment
plans. (Payment plans may be negotiated
with and administered by the clerk of courts business office.)
conclusion of the proceeding, the court will order liability of the parties for
payment of any balance owed on the GAL fees. Unless the court orders otherwise,
each party is responsible for 50% of the total gross fees due to the GAL.
shall be compensated at the hourly rate set by the judge in the order of
appointment, or any amendment thereto.
If the ordered parties do not pay such fees as required, the judge may
order the county to pay the fees and seek reimbursement from the responsible
party. In this event, the county will
only pay at the established base rate, which rate is available on the court’s
website or by calling the clerk’s office.
Any liability in excess of the base rate remains due to the GAL, who may
pursue collection by order to show cause or by requesting money judgment be
Guardian Ad Litem Procedure-Fees
Guardian ad Litem shall send monthly billing statements to the parties. When
the GAL’s bill exceeds the deposit amount, the GAL must send a letter to the
court with an Affidavit setting forth the fees and a proposed order.
order will authorize the transfer of any funds in county trust to the GAL. It
will also order the parties to pay an additional deposit to the county in
amounts determined by the judge. This
procedure is to be followed with every $1,000 increment in billing.
court determines the ultimate apportionment of responsibility for the GAL fees.
The county will return any unearned funds left in trust to the parties after
the final billing statement has been paid.
Termination of 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.
Rule 8: Appraisals
Court Appointed Appraisers
order to efficiently and fairly process cases, the court may appoint appraisers
for assets, such as real estate, physical personal property, or defined benefit
for a court appointed appraiser shall be borne equally by the parties unless
the court orders otherwise.
8.3 Use of Reports and
Calling as Witnesses
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,
however, call the court appointed appraiser to testify at that party’s own
expense. If calling the appraiser at
trial, the party must give written
notice to the other party(s) at least thirty (30) days prior to trial.
8.4 Separate Appraisals
may object to the report of the court appointed appraiser and hire their own appraiser,
provided written objection and notice is given to the court and the opposing
party within fifteen (15) days after receipt of the court appointed appraiser's
report. The report of any such appraiser
shall be furnished to the other party(s) at least thirty (30) days prior to the
commencement of the trial.
Rule 9: Submission of
Orders and Judgments
9.1 Five (5) Day Rule
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.