The information contained on this web page is provided as a courtesy to members of the public, and shall not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions, contact the Wisconsin Bar Association Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 800-362-9082 for additional assistance.
General Information About Family Court
Family Court is a jurisdictional division of the Circuit Court
The most common types of family court actions are:
- Divorce or legal separation
- Paternity of non-marital children
- Child support for non-marital children
- Revision of orders issued in a divorce / legal separation or a paternity or other case concerning non-marital children
- Enforcement of orders issued in a divorce / legal separation or a paternity or other case concerning non-marital children
Chapter 767 of the Wisconsin Statutes governs family court proceedings.
Chapter DCF 150 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code (the Child Support Standards) is an additional important source governing child support matters.
The Wisconsin Department of Children and Families oversees the Wisconsin Child Support Program.
Family Court proceedings are held both before the Family Court Commissioner and the Circuit Judge assigned to a case:
- Private communications in any form with a court official about a pending or impending case is strictly prohibited by rules of court ethics.
- How to write letters to the court
- All communications to the court must be in the form of proper legal paperwork (for which numerous pro se forms are available.)
- The person filing must provide copies of the completed forms (and all attachments) to all other parties on the case.
The Family Court and Clerk of Courts staff are not permitted to provide legal consultation and advice. Consultation and advice means:
- Listening to a detailed presentation of background and facts of a case.
- Providing opinions or suggestions about a course of action or strategy.
- Making tactical suggestions for in court presentations.
- Completing legal forms for you.
A motion for de novo (PDF) hearing may be filed if the Petitioner or Respondent is not satisfied with a decision made by the Court Commissioner.
General Pro Se Information
The legal term "pro se" regers to preparing and filing legal papers and appearing in court without an attorney.
Persons acting as their own attorney must follow the Wisconsin Statutes and court rules, just as attorneys must do.
The most common types of pro se family court actions are:
- Divorce/Legal Separation
- Revision and/or enforcement of orders issued for:
- Legal custody and/or physical placement of children
- Support and related financials orders for children
- Spousal maintenance
Pro se family forms are available at the Wisconsin Court Systems website.
- There are no pro se forms for Annulments.
- There are no pro se forms to establish paternity of non-marital children.
- The caption (top section on page 1) for any subsequent documents (i.e. stipulation, notice of motion and motion, order to show cause, etc.) shall remain the same as the original case filing (i.e. summons, joint petition).