Writing Letters to the Court
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.
People often write court officials letters asking that they do certain things for them. Normally, there are forms required to be completed to "move" the court to have hearings or follow-up if someone did not do what they are supposed to do. The Wisconsin Courts Self-Help Law Center is designed to help you find forms, learn about Wisconsin Law and court procedures, and to provide information regarding representing yourself in court matters.
Should you need to write a letter to the court, be aware of what is referred to as ex parte communications.
What is Ex Parte Communication?
Ex parte communication is an attempt (not allowable by law) to communicate with a court official, either verbally or in writing, without the knowledge or consent of the other party. Written correspondence (a letter) to the court is considered to be ex parte when there is nothing in writing in the letter to indicate the other party received a copy. When this occurs the court official may not consider the contents.
How do I ensure my communication with the courts may be considered?
Use copy notation (CC:) on all correspondence with the courts. Copy notation tells the reader that a copy of the letter is being sent to the named recipients. You must then send a copy to all the named recipients. In the State of Wisconsin, you must copy the correspondence to the attorney or caseworkers assigned to your case. If you or the other party have attorneys, it is suggested a copy be sent to both the party as well and his/her attorney. If a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is assigned to the case, the GAL should also receive a copy.
What if I have a restraining order against the other party?
If a restraining order prohibits you from sending correspondence directly to the other party, you may provide the other party's copy of the correspondence to the court. Along with the copy, please be sure to include a cover letter indicating that a restraining order exists, a stamped envelope and request that the court forward the letter to the other party for you.