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Appeals / Appellate Practice

In family law cases, it is not uncommon for many decisions to be made by family court commissioners, persons appointed to act in place of a circuit court judge in certain matters. Family court commissioner decisions are generally subject to any party’s right to a de novo appeal, which essentially involves having the same hearing conducted over again before the assigned circuit court judge. Whether made by a family court commissioner or circuit court judge, however, decisions in a family law case will typically ultimately result in a judgment or final order of some kind.

Any party who believes that a judgment or final order in a family law case which has been entered based on any type of legal error may also proceed with an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. The purpose of an appeal is to correct specific errors which the appealing party asserts were made in entering the judgment or final order, not to simply re-argue the case.

Appeals are decided based on standards of review which vary depending on the type of decision or issue involved. There can be no guarantee of any particular outcome. All appeals are subject to time limits and other procedural requirements with which a party must generally strictly comply.