Family Court Clinic

What is the Family Court Clinic?

The Family Court Clinic (FCC) was created to address one of the most pressing needs and challenges to our court system: unrepresented family law litigants. In FCC, law students provide legal information, forms, and guidance to unrepresented litigants under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty. Students work at the Dane County Courthouse as well as at a community office, located in a low-income, culturally diverse part of the city. Through their direct service to the community, students learn effective lawyering skills while developing an understanding not only of the social and economic contexts in which the litigants' problems occur, but also of the possibilities and limitations of the legal system. This program has garnered support from Dane County and Wisconsin Supreme Court judges, as well as local community groups. The FCC also assists self-represented litigants with restraining orders (a.k.a. protective order) petitions.

Information for Students

FCC'S Educational Mission

The FCC's educational mission to expose students to the range of challenges facing unrepresented (pro se) litigants in the court system, to train students in legal research and analysis, drafting, negotiation, litigation, and other skills, while also engaging them in a critical inquiry into the role of the law and lawyers in redressing economic injustice and inequality.  The FCC students work under a clinical law professor's close supervision as they gain experience client interviewing, counseling, mediation, and drafting legal documents while developing a practical understanding of Wisconsin's family court process. The students also critically evaluate the various responses of the justice system to the needs of pro se litigants.

What do FCC Students do?

  • Provide individual representation in selected cases
  • Assist self-represented family law litigants with completing forms and understanding the court process in a particular case
  • Observe court hearings and mediations
  • Develop and use written materials for guiding litigants and use in educational workshops
  • Partner with the Neighborhood Law Clinic to offer community education, forms, and guidance at neighborhood sites

In addition to weekly hours spent at the Dane County Courthouse, at neighborhood sites and in individual representation, FCC students participate in a weekly seminar. The seminar includes materials on: (1) the substantive topics students will encounter in their work; (2) skills development in interviewing, mediation, counseling, and writing; (3) issues pertinent to substantive topics such as ADR, use of interpreters in the courts, the role of guardian ad litem, and abuse issues in divorce; (4) issues related to pro se representation and innovative methods for providing legal services. The weekly seminar also provides an opportunity for students to brief each other on their case work and to brainstorm new approaches to case related issues and projects. 

Students interested in learning more about FCC should contact Professor Mansfield at marsha.mansfield@wisc.edu

Information for the Public

The Family Court Clinic (FCC) provides assistance to unrepresented people who have simple family law matters in Dane County. FCC is a University of Wisconsin Law School program. Law students (supervised by a clinical law professor) work with you free of charge

Our goal is to assist people through the legal process who cannot afford attorneys. Although we will not represent you, we hope that with our help, your case will be simpler, completed faster and be less stressful for you. We also hope that you will be more satisfied with the process and the results when your case is complete. 

Who is eligible for our services?

The FCC is a voluntary program available to low-income individuals who want help with a paternity, restraining order, divorce, or a post-divorce matter.  We will work with either or both parties. 

What kind of assistance will the FCC provide?

We will:

  • Provide the information and forms you need to complete your case;
  • Review the forms for accuracy and completeness;
  • Help you organize your information;
  • Help you understand court rules and procedures, and;
  • Provide the information you need to make it through every step of your case.

We will not:

  • We will not give legal advice;
  • We will not advocate for you or your spouse in or out of court;
  • We will not be your lawyers

Because we do not provide legal advice or legal advocacy, there is no attorney-client privilege and the information you give to the student is not confidential. 

What FCC can help with:

  • Divorce and legal separation;
  • Child custody and placement;
  • Child support;
  • Maintenance;
  • Paternity;
  • Guardianship;
  • Contempt motion.

What FCC cannot help with: 

  • Termination of parental rights (TPRs);
  • CHIPS proceedings (Child Protective Services);
  • Adoption;
  • Pre-nuptial agreements;
  • Bankruptcy;
  • Other non-family law issues

How do I get help from the FCC?

You may contact the FCC at any time at (608) 262-2301. We schedule appointments at:

Dane County Courthouse, Room LL1022
215 S. Hamilton St.
Madison, WI 53713

and

The Villager Mall
2312 S. Park Street
Madison, WI 53713

Español

La Clínica De La Corte Familia (FCC) provee ayuda a personas que no tengan representación legal con asuntos simples relacionados a la ley familiar en la Condado de Dane. FCC es un programa de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Wisconsin (University of Wisconsin Law School). Estudiantes de abogacía (supervisados por un abogado, profesor de la clínica legal) trabajarán con Us. gratis. 

La meta de FCC es ayudar a personas que no pueden pagar un abogado durante el proceso de su caso. Aunque nosotros no podemos representarle o darle consejos legales, esperamos que con nuestra ayuda, su caso seamás sencillo y pueda finalizarse con mayor rapidez y menos estrés. También esperamos que Ud. quede más satisfecho con el proceso y los resultados de su caso cuando está concluido. 

Quién cumple con los requisitos para recibir ayuda de FCC?

FCC es un programa voluntario disponsible para individuos con bajos ingresos que quieren ayuda con casos de paternidad, una Orden de Restricción (TRO), un divorcio, o un caso post-divorcio. Trabajaremos con ambas partes si los dos desean ayuda, o con una de las partes si una no quiere participar en nuestro programa. 

Qué tipo asistencia provee el programa de FCC? 

Lo que sí haremos:

  • Darle la información y los formularios que Ud. necesite para completar su caso;
  • Revisar los formularios para confirmar que estén completos de manera precisa;
  • Ayudarle a organizar su información;
  • Explicarle las reglas y los procedimenientos de la corte; y
  • Proporcionarle la información que Ud. necesite para completar su caso paso a paso.

Lo que no haremos: 

  • NO daremos consejo legal;
  • NO abogaremos por Ud. ni su esposo dentro o fuera de la corte;
  • NO seremos sus abogados.

Como no proveemos consejo legal o representación legal, no hay relación de privilegio entre abogado-cliente y la información que se le de al estudiante no es confidencial. 

FCC ofrece talleres con varios temas incluyendo:

  • Cómo inciniar el Divorcio
  • El Proceso del Divorcio
  • División de Propiedad y Deudas
  • Sustento y Manutención de Niños
  • Guarda de Menores
  • El Proceso de Paternidad
  • Cómo solicitar una Orden de Restricción

Tener información legal completa y precisa la ayudará a mantenerse organizado y preparado para que usted pueda manejar su propio caso con menores dificultades. 

Cómo conseguir ayuda de FCC?

Puede llamar en cualquier momento al (608) 262-2301.

Tenemos citas en:

Dane County Courthouse, Rm. L100
215 S. Hamilton Street 

y

The Villager Mall
2312 S. Park Street, Room 109

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