The Family Court Commissioner (FCC) conducts hearings and issues orders in divorce, legal separation and paternity cases. There is one part-time assistant to the FCC who assists in answering questions about the process and procedures in family court.
The Wisconsin Court System website (www.wicourts.gov) provides current forms and quick links, including the self-help law center. It is inappropriate for the FCC or assistant to provide legal advice; an attorney should be consulted for such questions. In the interest of fairness, particularly involving future court hearings, it is also sometimes inappropriate for one party to a court action to communicate directly with the FCC outside of court hearings unless the other party is present.
In some cases, the FCC refers parties to Family Court Mediation Services. Participation in mediation may be ordered based on a request made by an attorney or party, or mediation may be ordered upon the determination of the judge or FCC that mediation may be helpful to attempt to resolve custody or placement issues.
After a judgment has been entered, mediation may be requested by a party through written request by completing the Referral for Mediation form. Once an order is drafted and signed by the judge or commissioner, the parties receive in the mail a copy of the order along with further instructions.
Mediation is an economical, confidential, cooperative, problem solving process where a neutral mediator assists individuals in clearly defining the issues in a dispute and reaching an agreement. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions, but instead helps participants resolve misunderstandings and communicate more clearly with each other. Family Court Mediation does not include issues relating to property division, maintenance, child support, or other financial matters.
The Family Court Commissioner officiates weddings, at the Justice Center and at other locations, as arranged with the FCC in advance.