Going to Family Court without an Attorney
If you are trying to represent yourself, please keep the following in mind:
- You must follow all the rules that apply to lawyers. If you fail to follow the rules, you may be subject to penalties such as your case being postponed or dismissed entirely.
- Judges and Court Commissioners must remain objective. They cannot discuss a case with only one parent.
- Never send anything to a Judge or Court Commissioner unless a complete copy is sent to the other parent with proof that the other parent received a copy. Failure to do so will result in your mail being returned unread.
- A Judge or Court Commissioner cannot change your existing order based upon a letter. Do not send the Judge or Court Commissioner letters asking them to change the existing order because the other side has done something awful or the court made a bad decision.
- Letters advising the Court or Child Support Agency of a change in your income, job loss or employment change will not change your child support obligation.
Keep a complete copy of everything you send to or file with the Court.
This is not a complete set of procedural rules.
- If you want your existing order changed or enforced, you must file a motion, have the other parent properly served and give the other parent proper notice of the hearing. The legal process is complex and sometimes difficult to understand. Family law matters are often very emotional and you may lose your objectivity. For these reasons, we suggest you hire a lawyer. If you want to represent yourself, basic forms to modify and enforce existing orders are available at www.wicourts.gov . Using these forms is a way to get back into court, but it does not guarantee that you will succeed in your request.
- The clerk in the Family Court Commissioner’s Office and the clerks in the Clerk of Courts’ Office cannot give you legal advice.
- Private meetings or conversations with a Judge or Court Commissioner regarding your case are never allowed.
- The Guardian Ad Litem is a party in the case and must receive copies of everything sent to the Court.