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POWERS AND DUTIES OF FAMILY COURT COMMISSIONERS (RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE)

NCJ Number
68645
Author(s)
S LYTHCOTT
Date Published
1978
Length
9 pages
Annotation
THE FAMILY COURT COMMISSIONER, A PARAJUDICIAL OFFICER OF THE COURT ESTABLISHED BY WISCONSIN LAW, MAY ISSUE VARIOUS TEMPORARY ORDERS IN DOMESTIC CASES INCLUDING ORDERS TO ABUSIVE SPOUSES TO VACATE THE HOME.
Abstract
THE FAMILY COURT COMMISSIONER HAS BROAD AUTHORITY SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED IN CH. 247 OF THE WISCONSIN STATUTES. THESE POWERS INCLUDE THE AUTHORITY TO PROHIBIT ONE SPOUSE FROM IMPOSING ANY RESTRAINT UPON THE PERSONAL LIBERTY OF THE OTHER. IN ALL COUNTIES EXCEPT MILWAUKEE, COMMISSIONERS MAY ORDER AN ABUSING SPOUSE TO VACATE THE HOME PRIOR TO A HEARING TO DETERMINE IF IMMINENT DANGER OF PHYSICAL HARM EXISTS. IN MILWAUKEE COUNTY, THE HEARING MUST BE HELD BEFORE THE COMMISSIONER MAY ISSUE AN ORDER TO VACATE. COMMISSIONERS MAY ALSO HEAR AND APPEAR IN ACTIONS AFFECTING MARRIAGES, ANNULMENTS, DIVORCE, LEGAL SEPARATION, CHILD CUSTODY AND SUPPORT, PERIODIC ADJUSTMENTS OF CUSTODY AND SUPPORT MATTERS, AND COURT-GRANTED PERMISSION TO REMARRY UNDER STATUTE 245.105. ALL COMMISSIONER ORDERS MAY BE REVIEWED BY THE PRESIDING JUDGE, INCLUDING ORDERS TO VACATE THE HOME. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE FAMILY COURT COMMISSIONER UNLESS ONE OF THE PARTIES HAS HIRED A COURT STENOGRAPHER. IN THIS CASE, THE REVIEW AMOUNTS TO AN ENTIRE NEW HEARING. BECAUSE OF THIS, JUDGES ARE OFTEN RELUCTANT TO CONDUCT AN ENTIRE REHEARING UNLESS THE PETITIONER CAN COME FORWARD WITH STRONG EVIDENCE OF ERROR. THE COMMISSIONER HAS NO POWER TO ENFORCE AN ORDER TO VACATE, BUT THE SPOUSE MAY BE FOUND IN CONTEMPT OF COURT UPON REVIEW. THIS WRITTEN SUMMARY OF COMMISSIONER POWERS CONTAINS NUMEROUS CITATIONS FROM WISCONSIN STATUTES.