The importance of a De Novo hearing
You have just appeared before the Family Court Commissioner for a Temporary Orders hearing and a ruling has been issued. You are dissatisfied with that ruling, and because you were pro se (not represented by counsel), you fell short in providing crucial evidence to the Court. You are unsure of your next steps.
This situation is fairly common in Wisconsin. As a result, it is normal to ask yourself, “do I have the ability to appeal this decision?” The short answer is yes, you do. Pursuant to Wisconsin Statutes §767.69(8), which can be found by clicking here, the decision of a circuit court commissioner shall be reviewed by a judge upon request. The established case law allows for a De Novo (meaning ‘new’) hearing as if the original hearing had not occurred, and more importantly, allows an individual to include testimony from outside parties and witnesses. If the court denies a party’s ability to a full hearing it could lead to a reversal on appeal.
Now, when seeking a De Novo hearing, timeliness is crucial. Typically, an individual would look to the Wisconsin Statutes to find a deadline. Unfortunately, there is no provision contained within the Statutes telling you when to file for a De Novo hearing. As such, you would need to check your local court rules, which, though varying from county to county, contain specific language of your ability to appeal.
If you have correctly followed the local court rules and have timely secured a De Novo hearing, your journey has just begun. The De Novo hearing now becomes a platform where you have the ability to produce evidence through documents or witnesses that was not feasible during your initial thirty-minute Temporary Orders hearing. This gives you the opportunity to seek a different outcome that could have a lasting impact on the remainder of your case.
Having strong and competent representation from an experienced attorney can help you steer through the perils of the court process. Here at J.G Law we have knowledgeable, friendly, and court-experienced attorneys who are ready to advocate for you during your Temporary Orders or De Novo hearing.
If you have any additional questions or concerns feel free to pick-up the phone and call us today at (920) 383-1116.