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  • March 25, 2022

    Pro Tip: Know Your Local Court Rules – Here's How

    When you pick up a case in a county that is new to you, it's a good idea to get acquainted with that court's rules, because they can differ widely from what you're used to. David Karp discusses local court rules and where to find them.

    David B. Karp

    digital court rules

    If you have a multi-county practice or accept a case in a county where you do not routinely practice, you should immediately become familiar with the local court rules in that county.

    Court rules vary from county to county and cover many diverse issues, such as the timelines for filing exhibits and filing briefs, due dates for filing financial disclosure statements and parenting plans, and the duty to confer with opposing counsel prior to having a motion heard.

    Attorneys practicing in a new county who are unfamiliar with the local court rules may find their exhibits for a hearing excluded, their briefs struck, or their motions denied because they failed to confer with the opposing attorney prior to the hearing.

    The best practice is to immediately review the local court rules and make sure a copy gets placed in your file. The State Bar of Wisconsin website,, provides a links to these rules, making it easy to find them.

    A Sampling of Local Court Rules

    Here are a few examples of local court rules dealing with such issues:

    David B. Karp David B. Karp, Marquette 1982, is a partner with Karp & Iancu, S.C., Milwaukee, where he concentrates his practice in family law.

    Kenosha County Rules of the Circuit Court: CR 05-8 IN FAMILY MATTERS, STATEMENT OF DISPUTED ISSUES:

    Each party shall exchange with opposing party a Statement of Disputed Issues” which shall include a detailed summary of the issues and theories of contention, a description of the relevant facts, a list of disputed household goods, a list of stipulations, and recommended conclusions. A balance sheet showing the recommended division of property shall be attached to the Statement of Disputed Issues 7 business days prior to the first scheduled Court Trial.

    Ozaukee County Circuit Court Local Rules: 103.2 FILING OF DOCUMENTS

    (a) All documents are to be electronically filed (except those exempt under Wis. Stats. §801.18) with the clerk of circuit court’s office at least seventy two (72) hours prior to the hearing for consideration at that hearing unless otherwise permitted by the court.

    Ozaukee County Circuit Court Local Rules: 202.3 DISCOVERY MOTIONS

    All motions relating to discovery or production of documents pursuant to Chapter 804, Wis. Stats., or any motion to serve additional interrogatories pursuant to Rule 202.2 must be accompanied by an affidavit by the moving party that, after consultation in person or by telephone with the opposing party and sincere attempts to resolve their differences, the parties are unable to reach an accord. The statement shall recite, in addition, the date and place of such consultation and the names of all parties participating therein. Seventy -two hour time frame does not apply to local rule 502.2 and small claims matters.

    Waukesha County Circuit Court Local Family Court Rules: 5.2 Untimely Filing

    If the findings of fact, conclusions of law and judgment of divorce, legal separation, or annulment are not filed within thirty (30) days after the judgment is granted, the family clerk of courts office shall calendar and notice a hearing to dismiss the case due to such failure.

    Sheboygan County Circuit Court Rule 6: 603 Briefs

    If the movant desires to file a brief in support of a motion other than one for summary judgment, the brief shall be served and filed with the Clerk of Circuit Courts; a copy shall be served and filed on all opposing counsel; and a copy shall be filed with the assigned judge with the notice of motion or at least 10 days prior to any scheduled hearing date. Briefs in opposition to such motions must be filed no later than two business days prior to the hearing of the motion. Briefs in opposition to such motions must be either personally served upon opposing counsel no later than two business days prior to the hearing or if service is made by mail, no later than three business days prior to the hearing. Briefs filed in an untimely fashion may be disregarded by the court.

    Conclusion: Stay Informed

    When practicing in a new county or if you have a multicounty practice, it is incumbent to become familiar with local court rules before you find yourself on the outside looking in.

    Local court rules can place time limits on filing of exhibits, briefs, motions, pre-trial reports, among other issues. You don’t want to have to explain to your client why documents or exhibits were excluded for failing to comply with local court rules or where sanctions may be imposed for failing to comply.

    Another tip: talk with a local attorney in that county who can walk you through the local court rules and nuances of that particular court commissioner or judge you may be appearing in front of.

    This article was originally published on the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Family Law Section Blog. Visit the State Bar sections or the Family Law Section webpages to learn more about the benefits of section membership.

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    Family Law Blog is published by the Family Law Section and the State Bar of Wisconsin; blog posts are written by section members. To contribute to this blog, contact Donna Ginzl and review Author Submission Guidelines. Learn more about the Family Law Section or become a member.

    Disclaimer: Views presented in blog posts are those of the blog post authors, not necessarily those of the Section or the State Bar of Wisconsin. Due to the rapidly changing nature of law and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the State Bar of Wisconsin makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or completeness of this content.

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