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.

FCC students provide legal information, forms, and guidance to unrepresented litigants under the supervision of experienced clinical faculty. FCC students further advance their legal education by providing full representation in select family law actions. Through their direct service to the community, students learn effective lawyering skills while developing an understanding of the social and economic contexts in which the litigants' problems occur and 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.

Information for Students

FCC Educational Mission

FCC's educational mission is to expose students to the range of challenges facing unrepresented family law litigants, to train students in lawyering skills including legal research and analysis, drafting, negotiation, litigation, and mediation, and to engage students in critical inquiry into the role of the law and lawyers in redressing economic injustice and inequality.

FCC students work under a clinical law professor's close supervision as they gain experience client interviewing, counseling, drafting legal documents, and advocating in court. Students develop a practical understanding of Wisconsin's family court process and critically evaluate the various responses of the justice system to the needs of unrepresented litigants.

What do FCC Students do?

FCC students:

  • Represent clients in selected cases that are referred to FCC from outside service providers.
  • Assist self-represented family law litigants by providing the information and forms litigants need to complete their case, and by helping litigants to understand court rules and procedures.
  • Observe and later participate in court hearings and mediations.
  • Develop written materials for guiding litigants through the family court process.
  • Work collaboratively with other FCC students and with students from other EJI clinics.

In addition to weekly hours spent assisting unrepresented litigants at during service appointments and on casework for their individual clients, FCC students participate in a weekly seminar. The seminar includes materials on:

  • The substantive topics students will encounter in their work.
  • Skills development, including interviewing, negotiating, counseling, litigating, and writing.
  • Issues pertinent to substantive topics, such as ADR, use of interpreters in the courts, the role of a guardian ad litem, and abuse issues in family law disputes.
  • 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 Jennifer Binkley at jbinkley@wisc.edu

Information for the Public

The Family Court Clinic (FCC) is a University of Wisconsin Law School program. Law students (supervised by a clinical law professor) work with you free of charge. FCC provides full representation in select cases and provides assistance to unrepresented people who have simple family law matters in Wisconsin. Full representation is not provided to people who contact us directly for assistance. Rather, full representation is only provided in a few cases that are referred to us by other agencies. The following information describes the limited assistance which we provide to those who meet with us. 

Our goal is to assist people 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

Domestic Violence Resources

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please see our Domestic Violence Resources webpage for resources that may be able to provide additional services.

The Economic Justice Institute also has an additional clinic dedicated to providing direct legal services to victims/survivors of intimite partner and/or domestic violence. You can visit the the VOCA Restraining order clinic and contact them directly at 608-263-9574.

Who is eligible for our services?

FCC is a voluntary program available to low-income individuals who want help with a paternity action, restraining order, divorce, or a post-divorce/paternity matter, such as custody, placement or child support. We will work with either or both parties.

FCC students are only able to assist with cases that are filed in the State of Wisconsin, and we generally do not provide assistance over the phone.

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 can FCC help with?

What FCC can help with:

  • Divorce and legal separation;
  • Child custody and placement;
  • Child support;
  • Maintenance;
  • Paternity;
  • Guardianship of minors;
  • Contempt and enforcement actions.

What FCC cannot help with:

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

How do I get help from the FCC?

**COVID-19 Note**

The Family Court Clinic is currently open and providing limited phone and remote assistance. Please leave your name, phone number, the legal issue you are facing and let us know if it is safe for us to leave a message. You may also contact the State Bar Legal Hotline at 1-800-362-9082 or by going to wi.freelegalanswers.org.

You may contact the FCC at any time at 608-262-2301. If you prefer that we reach out to you instead, you may do so by hitting the "Make an appointment" button below.

You may also schedule an appointment with an FCC student at Madison College-Goodman South Campus at 2429 Perry Street, Madison, WI 53713 by calling 608-243-4200.

En Español

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. 

Domestic Violence Resources

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. 

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?

La clinica de la corte familiar está actualmente abierta y está proveindo asistencia telefónica y remota. Deje su nombre, número de teléfono, el problema legal que enfrenta y avísenos si es seguro dejar un mensaje. También, puede comunicarse con la línea directa legal del colegio de abogados del estado al 1 (800) 362-9082 o visitando wi.freelegalanswers.org.

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