Courts in Wisconsin, and in particular the family law and divorce Courts, have been severely affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the beginning of the pandemic and the Wisconsin Safer at Home orders, most courts either cancelled hearings, adjourned them or started doing hearings by alternative means. Some hearings continued to be held via telephone or Zoom. However, there are many hearings which were cancelled and still need to be rescheduled, although ,the courts are slowly starting to do that.
Even though the current Safer at Home order in Wisconsin expires on May 26, 2020, it is not certain that the courts will be reopening to pre-COVID-19 operations after that time. In Milwaukee County, for example, they have indicated they will not doing in person hearings in the near future and likely not until after July, 2020. All hearings currently on the court’s calendars, if not rescheduled, will be conducted by Zoom or telephone. Trials or contested hearings, however, will still likely be rescheduled until after in person hearings are being conducted. Each judge is using his or her own discretion as to how they want to handle certain types of hearings.
In Waukesha County, they have not yet announced what their plans will be. They are just now starting to reschedule previously cancelled Pretrial Conferences and Status Hearings. Those hearings will likely be by telephone. They have not announced plans to reschedule or resume Family Court Commissioner hearings or contested hearings.
In Washington and Ozaukee counties, most hearings have been and are proceeding by Zoom or by telephone.
In all counties, they are continuing to hold hearings on emergency matters such as domestic or child abuse restraining orders and custody/placement enforcement petitions.
If you are a client of our firm, the attorneys and staff at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach will continue to keep you apprised of the status of your court hearings as soon as we receive that information from the Courts.