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Can you explain a de novo hearing?

Park Falls, WI |

What can I expect at a de novo hearing? its a hearing that was supposed to be a hearing to hear a modification of placement petition, but commissioner turned it into a modification of custody, and of the active TRO, and ignored the actual reasoning we were there. Is the first day there a explain why you want a new hearing day, or is it the actual new hearing?

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In Wisconsin people with issues like this are entitled to a hearing before an elected judge. However, there are limits on their time, so court commissioners are hired to handle things that don't really need the judge's time so people can get hearings within a reasonable amount of time.

If you don't agree with the court commissioner's ruling, you can ask for a hearing before a judge. "De Novo" essentially means starting from scratch. The judge looks at the evidence you bring into that hearing, not what was before the court commissioner.

Was the TRO in the same case, or was it in a separate matter - even if between the same two parties.

You really need a lawyer if it is getting this complex.

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TRO was a seperate case, and wasn't why we were at that hearing. Commissioner ignored why we were there and turned it into a extension of the tro hearing.


it is the hearing to decide what the ruling should be. the court will either affirm the family court or overrule them

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Not to be disagreeable with Attorney Dommershausen, but my understanding of a de novo hearing is that the judge hears testimony on the motion as if the commissioner had never heard it: i.e., everything starts over (that's what the Latin words mean). In other words, the judge does not affirm or uphold the commissioner: it's not an appeal of the commissioner's decision. You do not have to explain why you asked for the de novo. The court clerk should have automatically scheduled a date for the hearing. Good luck. Call if you have more questions, no charge for initial consultation (but if you think you need a lawyer, hire someone local).

Tajara Dommershausen

Tajara Dommershausen


I agree in prinicipal that is what is supposed to happen; however, every one I have ever done the court clearly has reviewed the decision and comments on it...some court's have gone as far as to make coments that their normal practice is to never disagree with the court commissioner unless there is clearly a mistake of law.

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