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Family — family court commissioners — waiver

Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Family — family court commissioners — waiver

Where a party failed to object to an order of a family court commissioner, he waived the right to a de novo hearing in circuit court.

“As the circuit court observed, an attempt to bypass a hearing before the FCC would be contrary to the established procedures in Fond du Lac county implementing the applicable state statutes—namely, that the FCC first conduct hearings in postjudgment family matters. WISCONSIN STAT. § 757.69(1)(p)2. provides that the FCC may conduct hearings and enter judgments in actions for revision of judgment for physical placement, as guided by the provisions of WIS. STAT. ch. 767.1[5] While § 757.69(8) affords the opportunity to move for a hearing de novo before the circuit court, this statutory structure presupposes that the FCC has conducted a hearing. And, Rule No. 3.8(1), which provides that ‘any party who was present at a hearing held by the [FCC] has the right to have the assigned Circuit Court Judge hold a new hearing,’ is in lockstep with that statutory structure.”

“Simply put, the local rule is both consistent with WIS. STAT. § 757.69(8) and the legislative intent that the FCC would conduct initial hearings. The legislature identified certain areas in which a court commissioner could be used to increase efficiency while still affording the safeguard of circuit court review of all decisions, upon motion, and a de novo hearing in contested matters. WIS. STAT. §§ 757.68(1), 757.69(1).”


Recommended for publication in the official reports.

2011AP2330 Nehls v. Nehls

Dist. II, Fond du Lac County, Grimm, J., Neubauer, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Thompson, Jennifer F., Oshkosh; For Respondent: Kuborn, Michael J., Oshkosh

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