In all cases filed for divorce, legal separation, and annulment where there are minor children, the Family Court Commissioner makes an order requiring both parties to attend an approved program, up to 4 hours in length, regarding the effect of such action on their children. This requirement must be met unless there is a waiver granted by the Family Court Commissioner, and the court will consider imposing sanctions on those who do not attend.
This is a requirement for all divorce cases commenced where there are minor children involved. The judges and the court commissioners also have the authority, under Sec. 767.401, Wisconsin Statues, to order people involved in any pre-judgement or post-judgement family case, including paternity cases, to attend such a program.
To insure the overall quality of the programs, including appropriate content and proper training of the presenters, approval of the programs is made by the Family Court Commissioner through the Family Court Mediation Service. Therefore, only attendance at approved programs will be considered as meeting this requirement. If one wants a particular program approved, that person, or the provider, will have to contact the Family Court Commissioner with such a request.
It is important to note that these programs do not take the place of counseling, therapy, or mediation. Therefore, those types of programs cannot be substituted for these educational programs unless specific permission for the substitution is given by the Family Court Commissioner. You may attend these programs together or separately (if the program chosen allows separate attendance). The provider will prepare a form indicating the party (or parties) attending has completed the program. Each party will receive a copy of that completed form, but the original document will be returned to the Family Court Commissioner by the provider. The information will be entered in the court computer record for your case and the document will be filed in the court file.
In order to fill out the form, the provider will need to know the names of the parties, the court case number, and the branch letter (Family A, B, C, D, or E). So be sure you bring that information along with you to the session. It would be a good idea to bring along a copy of one of your court papers with the information.
The following is a list of the programs currently approved for completion of the parent education program requirement: