La Crosse County, Wisconsin

 County Website | County Services Minutes/Agendas | Code of Ordinance County Directory | Departments


Mediation and Family Court Services provides three primary services to the citizens of La Crosse County: Mediation, Child Custody Evaluations, and Step-Parent Adoptions.

MEDIATION
Mediation services are provided to separated, divorced and unmarried parents who are in conflict concerning placement and legal custody issues in regard to their minor children. Mediation is a cooperative process which allows parents to make their own plans and decisions for the best interest of their minor children with the assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator. In this process it is the parents who make the parenting decisions not the mediator.

Parents are either referred to mediation by an order from the Court (usually the Family Court Commissioner) or parents may self refer. In order to be referred by the Court, a legal filing for divorce, separation or a paternity action must have occurred in La Crosse County. Once Mediation and Family Court Services has received the order for mediation, the parents meet with a mediator for an initial mediation session. This session informs the parents of different options of managing their conflict, one of which is mediation. At the end of the initial mediation session, parents decide if they wish to mediate or not. Mediation will only continue if both parents agree to proceed which preserves the right to self determination.

Mediation Referral Form

 
CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS
When parents remain in conflict and are unable to reach consensus regarding the placement, legal custody or other issues pertinent to the best interest of their minor children, one or both parents may petition the Family Court Commissioner to have a Child Custody Evaluation by a Child Custody Assessment Team. If the Family Court Commissioner orders a Child Custody Evaluation, a Child Custody Evaluator from Mediation and Family Court Services works with two other professionals (an attorney to represent the child(ren)’s best interest, call a Guardian ad Litem and a mental health professional, called a Child Development Specialist) to investigate and evaluate the family. At the end of this process, this team of professionals presents to the parents their recommendations for placement and custody based on the best interest of the minor child/children.  A formal report is presented to the Family Court Commissioner. Parents then may agree to accept the recommendations or they may choose to go to trial with a Circuit Court Judge.
 
STEP-PARENT ADOPTIONS
The third service provided by Mediation and Family Court Services is Step- Parent Adoption screenings. When a step – parent wishes to legally adopt a step child, a screening interview is conducted by this office. This will involve an in-office interview with the family members and a public records check with the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the county Human Services Department. A formal report is then prepared for the Court as well as information for an amended birth certificate.
 

Location and Contact Info

 

Erin N. Balsiger, Director

La Crosse County Courthouse/Law Enforcement Center
333 Vine Street, Room 1300
La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601


Phone: (608) 785-6162
Office Hours:  8:00 AM - 4:30 PM Weekdays
 

Updated:   01/16/2014  

   Disclaimer