– from Gerald L. in South Milwaukee, WI

Question Details:

I was able to appeal my divorce judgment from the trial court and the court of appeals decided to have another trial court decide on my divorce judgment. However, it is going back to the same judge whom I believed unfairly decided against me. Is it possible to request a different judge to hear my case?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Thank you for your question. A person can always request a judge substitution for valid reason. However, as discussed in State ex rel. Parrish v. Kenosha Cnty. Circuit Court (148 Wis. 2d 700, 436 N.W.2d 608 (1989), it is very difficult to make a judicial substitution in a divorce hearing.

The court in Parrish identified two public policy reasons for interpreting section 801.58(7) as being inapplicable to proceedings to modify divorce judgments. The first reason was if the original trial judge has become familiar with the parties and the circumstances of the case and is, by reason of this experience, best prepared to hear further proceedings in the case. The second reason was if the denial of substitution facilitates efficient allocation of judicial resources.

Give me a call if you have any more questions.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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