Temporary COVID-19 Family Court Hearing Procedures

Updated June 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.  We will get back to you as soon as we can.  Our office is staffed part time and we 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 telephone and by Zoom Video.  If your hearing will be held 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 that your hearing will be held by Zoom video, your hearing will be held by telephone.  Do not come to the Justice Center in person for a hearing; the hearing room and the Commissioner’s office lobby will be locked.  We have set up 608-328-9526 as the number for telephone hearings.  This is not a zoom access number.  This is not a number at which you may obtain information.  Email us. Do not call this number except to appear.

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

We will be rescheduling some hearings due to the inability to accommodate as many hearings by telephone as we can in person.  We will provide as much notice as possible, but sometimes short notice will be the best we can do.

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 telephone hearing time is limited and your hearing may be rescheduled, at the Commissioner’s discretion, if this has not been done.

Tuesday pretrials:  If by telephone, attorneys are to call without clients present or on the line.  The number to call for these hearings has changed to 608-328-9526.  These informal calls cover scheduling, disclosures, and any other issue necessary to inform the commissioner of the status of the case and to determine what needs to happen to keep the case moving toward resolution or trial.  If scheduled by Zoom, clients may appear at the discretion of their attorneys.

Other Hearings:  We expect to convert to Zoom video for hearings beginning June 10, 2020, although not all may be converted.  If you did not receive a zoom notice, your hearing will be by telephone.  See below.  Cell phone users are not to use the speaker phone unless the user has a disability that requires the same.  The background noise from most speaker phones decreases the quality of the call and makes it difficult for the Commissioner to understand what is being said.

1. Hearings with Child Support Agency (CSA):
•  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, then you need to call the Commissioner at the exact time for your hearing at 608-328-9526. If you cannot get thru, call back in 2 minutes.  Repeat as necessary until you are able to get through.  DO NOT CALL THE CLERK OF COURT, THEY CAN DO NOTHING TO HELP YOU.  We are holding as many hearings as we are able and they sometimes go a few minutes longer than scheduled.
If an attorney represents you, the attorney will conference you and then call the Commissioner at 608-328-9526. If the attorney cannot get through, they should call back in 2 minutes. DO NOT CALL THE CLERK OF COURT, THEY CAN DO NOTHING TO HELP YOU.  We are holding as many hearings as we are able and they sometimes go a few minutes longer than scheduled.
• If the case has a Guardian ad Litem, they will call the Commissioner at 608-328-9526.
Family Court Commissioner will conference all parties together.  Lawyers are to conference with their client; do not conference with opposing counsel or opposing party prior to calling the Commissioner.

Other Information:

All Family Court mediation sessions will be held by telephone.  If the Commissioner has reason to believe telephone 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 48 hours in advance of your hearing so they can be entered into the electronic system and reviewed.  Even after in-person hearings begin again, the Commissioner will not accept paper documents.

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.


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.