Temporary COVID-19 Family Court Hearing Procedures

Updated July 2, 2020

We expect these procedures to change periodically as circumstances dictate.  We do not expect a return to normal hearings until the crisis has passed.  We will update this page as procedures change.

Email is the only way to contact us for scheduling and information.  staff@greencountyfcc.org  Make sure you include your name and your case number in any communication, together with a description of the issue.  Do not leave a message for us to call you back; tell us what you need.  We will get back to you as soon as we can.  Our office is staffed part time and our staff will be working from home much of the time.   We appreciate your patience during this time. Do not call the Clerk of Court for information on Family Court hearings.  They can do nothing for you.  We have disabled voicemail at the Family Court office.  Contact us by email.

We are currently holding hearings by Zoom Video.  You will receive a notice on how to connect with that hearing. You will need to read and follow those instructions to appear at the time of your hearing.  If you have not received a notice one week before your hearing, email our office and notify us so we can get a notice to you.  Do not come to the Justice Center in person for a hearing; the hearing room and the Commissioner’s office lobby will be locked. 

For Zoom Video hearings, refer to the instructions sent to you.

Settlement Discussions: All lawyers are expected to discuss the issues in the case with the opposing attorney or party at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled hearing date to explore resolution of the same.  Our one hearing time is limited and your hearing may be rescheduled, at the Commissioner’s discretion, if this has not been done.

Hearing Procedures:

1. Hearings with Child Support Agency (CSA):
•  Hearings with the CSA will be held by Zoom video.  You do not need a computer to participate.
•  If you do not have an attorney, call the CSA at 608-328-9460  at least two business days before the date of your hearing.  They will provide you with information on how to appear.
If an attorney represents you, you need to call the CSA at 608-328-9460 at least 2 business days before the date of your hearing to give them the attorney’s name, and email address if you have it.  The CSA will notify them on how to appear.
• If the case has a Guardian ad Litem, the CSA will notify them on how to appear.

2. Hearings Without Child Support Agency:
If you do not have an attorney, follow the instructions for Zoom video that were provided to you.   You do not need a computer to participate.  If you have not received Zoom instructions at least 1 week before the hearing, email the Family Court (address above) and ask for instructions to be provided to you.  Make sure your email includes your case number. DO NOT CALL THE CLERK OF COURT. 
If an attorney represents you, the attorney will provide you with Zoom instructions.  DO NOT CALL THE CLERK OF COURT.

Other Information:

All Family Court mediation sessions will be held by telephone or by Zoom video, at the mediator’s discretion.  If the Commissioner has reason to believe such mediation will not be effective, mediation may be delayed until after the crisis ends, or the Commissioner may immediately appoint a Guardian ad Litem at the parties’ expense.

Filing Documents

Documents must be filed with the Clerk of Court at least 48 hours in advance of your hearing so they can be entered into the electronic system and reviewed.

Contact the Clerk of Circuit Court to find out how many copies must be filed and the amount of the filing fee, if any.  Their telephone number is (608) 328-9433.

Self-represented parties may mail their documents to the court. Be sure to include the court case number (ex: 2009FA100 or 20PA99). Attach checks for any filing fees with the paperwork.

Clerk of Circuit Court
Green County Justice Center
2841 6th Street
Monroe, WI 53566

Alternatively, parties may electronically file documents for their case.

1. create an account on the Wisconsin Court system for a 1-time $20 setup fee.   See
https://wicourts.gov/ecourts/efilecircuit/docs/registerecourts.pdf
for instructions, and then

2. follow these additional instructions:   https://wicourts.gov/ecourts/efilecircuit/docs/proseoptin.pdf

If you are a self-represented litigant and you need an opt-in code, you may email barbara.miller@wicourts.gov

As a last resort, you may drop off your documents in the drop box at the front door of the Justice Center (documents need to be in an envelope) or in the basket outside of the Clerk of Circuit Court office at the Justice Center. As of the date of this post, the Justice Center is open 9 am to noon, Monday through Friday.

More information may be found at the Green County Clerk of Courts website.


GUIDELINES FOR CHANGE OF PLACEMENT REQUESTS
BASED ON COVID-19
GOAL: SAFELY MAINTAIN IMPORTANT PARENTAL RELATIONSHIPS

Presumption that current custody/placement arrangements and schedules should continue, though modifications to ensure all COVID-19 precautions are adhered to (including strict social distancing)

Exceptions:

  • Specific personal reason (e.g. under self-isolation for 14 day period because of recent travel; personal illness; or exposure to illness
  • Parent’s personal risk factors (e.g. through employment or associations) may require controls re direct contact with the child. For most cases, following sanitation recommendations will suffice. For others, where the risk is higher, consider Zoom, Skype etc. for parental contact
  • Parent’s failure to modify behavior in light of COVID-19 (e.g. not following social distancing, failing to take reasonable health precautions) may raise sufficient concern about a parent’s judgment to overcome the presumption and require modification to the placement order. There will be zero tolerance for any parent who recklessly exposes a child (or members of the child’s household) to any COVID-19 risk.
  • Some modifications to exchanges may be needed and social distancing needs to be preserved. Exchange points may need to be modified. (e.g. The Family Resource Center is closed (consider whether the Police Dept or Sheriff’s Dept may be safely used; exchanges at public places such as McDonalds will not be possible inside the facility (perhaps “curbside” at the same location instead); gas stations may be open and may be an alternative for situations where a restroom is necessary).
  • Blended families may need orders that attempt to protect all children within every household involved.

PROCEDURE:

  • Parent filing a request for modification based on COVID-19 must provide specific evidence or examples of behavior or plans by the other parent that are inconsistent with the most current COVID-19 protocols.
  • Parent objecting to modification must provide specific and absolute reassurance that COVID-19 safety measures will be meticulously adhered to-including social distancing; use of disinfectants; compliance wit public safety directives; etc.
  • Each parent must provide specific and realistic time-sharing proposals that fully address all COVID-19 considerations. The focus, as always, must be the best interest of the child.

End of Temporary COVID-19 Procedures

 

Family Court

Divorce, paternity, and child support cases are decided in Family Court. This site has information on resources for people involved in those kinds of cases. You will find links to other sites scattered through this site and organized together on the Links Page.

It’s impossible to provide all of the information you might need to deal with every case but we have tried to provide enough information to answer most general questions. If you would like to see other information on this site, or if you have any problems with this site, please email the Family Court staff. For other contact information, go to the Contact Information Page.

While it is possible for a non-lawyer to do his or her own divorce, it isn’t easy. The information on this site is not legal advice, nor is it a replacement for good legal advice. For information on what the site is (and is not), please see the Use Limitations.

The Dane County (Wisconsin) Bar Association, in cooperation with the State Bar of Wisconsin, has prepared videos on the divorce process titled “Moving On: A Guide to Pro Se Divorce”. There is a Spanish-language version of at least one of these videos. You can watch these videos on-line at the Dane County Bar Association website by clicking on this link .

NOTE: The Clerk of Court scans all documents to make them electronic documents. When you fill out forms for the Court, use BLACK INK. The scanners used by the Courts do not handle blue ink well, and the Clerk may not accept your documents if you use blue ink.  Please note that most forms have 2 parts; one for you to request something, the other for the court to order it.  You need to file BOTH.