48.42(4)(b)4.a. a. The name of the party or parties to whom notice is being given;
48.42(4)(b)4.b. b. A description of the party or parties;
48.42(4)(b)4.c. c. The former address of the party or parties;
48.42(4)(b)4.d. d. The approximate date and place of conception of the child; and
48.42(4)(b)4.e. e. The date and place of birth of the child.
48.42(4)(b)5. 5. The notice shall not include the name of the mother unless the mother consents. The notice shall not include the name of the child unless the court finds that inclusion of the child's name is essential to give effective notice to the father.
48.42(4)(c) (c) The notice under par. (a) or (b) shall also inform the parties:
48.42(4)(c)1. 1. That the parental rights of a parent or alleged parent who fails to appear may be terminated;
48.42(4)(c)2. 2. Of the party's right to have an attorney present and that if a person desires to contest termination of parental rights and believes that he or she cannot afford an attorney, the person may ask the state public defender to represent him or her; and
48.42(4)(c)3. 3. That if the court terminates parental rights, a notice of intent to pursue relief from the judgment must be filed in the trial court within 30 days after judgment is entered for the right to pursue such relief to be preserved.
48.42(5) (5)Penalty. Any person who knowingly and willfully makes or causes to be made any false statement or representation of a material fact in the course of a proceeding under this section with an intent to deceive or mislead the court for the purpose of preventing a person who is entitled to receive notice of a proceeding under this section from receiving notice may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 9 months, or both. It is not a violation of this subsection for a person to refuse to make a statement or representation of material fact in the course of a proceeding under this section for the purpose of preventing a person who is entitled to receive notice of a proceeding under this section from receiving notice if, at the time of the refusal, the person stated that he or she feared that making such a statement or representation would place the person or another person at risk of domestic abuse, as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (am), or abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), and if the person proves that he or she refused to make such a statement or representation because of a recent overt act, attempt, or threat that caused him or her reasonably to believe that refusing to make such a statement or representation was the only means of preventing domestic abuse, as defined in s. 813.12 (1) (am), or abuse, as defined in s. 813.122 (1) (a), to himself or herself or to another.
Effective date note Judicial Council Note, 1986: Subs. (3) (d) and (4) (c) are amended to require notice to the parties of the time and manner for initiating an appeal from a judgment terminating parental rights. [Re Order eff. 7-1-87]
48.42 Annotation Guardianship and TPR proceedings are custody proceedings, guardianship and TPR determinations are custody determinations, and guardianship and TPR determinations are custody decrees, all governed by ch. 822. In Interest of A.E.H. 161 Wis. 2d 277, 468 N.W.2d 190 (1991).
48.42 Annotation Sub. (2m) denies a putative father standing to contest the alleged grounds for termination when the child was conceived as the result of sexual assault. Termination of Parental Rights to A. M. 176 Wis. 2d 673, 500 N.W.2d 649 (1993).
48.42 Annotation Sub. (2) (d) requires consideration in each case of whether ch. 822 applies but does not require the application of ch. 822 to intrastate cases. In Interest of Brandon S.S. 179 Wis. 2d 114, 507 N.W.2d 94 (1993).
48.42 Annotation Sub. (2) is the exclusive statute for determining what parties may be summoned; intervention under s. 803.09 does not apply. In Interest of Brandon S.S. 179 Wis. 2d 114, 507 N.W.2d 94 (1993).
48.42 Annotation Sexual assault under sub. (2m) does not include a violation of s. 948.09, sexual intercourse with a child age 16 or older. Paternity of Michael A.T. 182 Wis. 2d 395, 513 N.W.2d 669 (Ct. App. 1994).
48.42 Annotation The doctrines of claims and issue preclusion may apply in TPR cases. Brown County Department of Human Services v. Terrance M. 2005 WI App 57, 280 Wis. 2d 396, 694 N.W.2d 458, 04-2379.
48.422 48.422 Hearing on the petition.
48.422(1) (1) Except as provided in s. 48.42 (2g) (ag), the hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights shall be held within 30 days after the petition is filed. At the hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights the court shall determine whether any party wishes to contest the petition and inform the parties of their rights under sub. (4) and s. 48.423.
48.422(2) (2) Except as provided in s. 48.42 (2g) (ag), if the petition is contested the court shall set a date for a fact-finding hearing to be held within 45 days after the hearing on the petition, unless all of the necessary parties agree to commence with the hearing on the merits immediately.
48.422(3) (3) If the petition is not contested the court shall hear testimony in support of the allegations in the petition, including testimony as required in sub. (7).
48.422(4) (4) Any party who is necessary to the proceeding or whose rights may be affected by an order terminating parental rights shall be granted a jury trial upon request if the request is made before the end of the initial hearing on the petition.
48.422(5) (5) Any nonpetitioning party, including the child, shall be granted a continuance of the hearing for the purpose of consulting with an attorney on the request for a jury trial or concerning a request for the substitution of a judge.
48.422(6) (6)
48.422(6)(a)(a) In the case of a nonmarital child who is not adopted or whose parents do not subsequently intermarry under s. 767.803 and for whom paternity has not been established, or for whom a declaration of paternal interest has not been filed under s. 48.025 within 14 days after the date of birth of the child or, if s. 48.42 (1g) (b) applies, within 21 days after the date on which the notice under s. 48.42 (1g) (b) is mailed, the court shall hear testimony concerning the paternity of the child. Based on the testimony, the court shall determine whether all interested parties who are known have been notified under s. 48.42 (2) and (2g) (ag). If not, the court shall adjourn the hearing and order appropriate notice to be given.
48.422(6)(b) (b) If the court determines that an unknown person may be the father of the child and notice to that person has not been waived under s. 48.42 (4) (b) 3., the court shall determine whether constructive notice will substantially increase the likelihood of notice to that person. If the court does determine that it would substantially increase the likelihood of notice and the petitioner has not already caused the notice to be published or the court determines that the publication used was not sufficient, the court shall adjourn the hearing for a period not to exceed 30 days and shall order constructive notice under s. 48.42 (4) (b). If the court determines that constructive notice will not substantially increase the likelihood of notice to that person, the court shall order that the hearing proceed.
48.422(6)(c) (c) If paternity is adjudicated under this subchapter and parental rights are not terminated, the court may make and enforce such orders for the suitable care, custody and support of the child as a court having jurisdiction over actions affecting the family may make under ch. 767. If there is a finding by the court that the child is in need of protection or services, the court may make dispositional orders under s. 48.345.
48.422(7) (7) Before accepting an admission of the alleged facts in a petition, the court shall:
48.422(7)(a) (a) Address the parties present and determine that the admission is made voluntarily with understanding of the nature of the acts alleged in the petition and the potential dispositions.
48.422(7)(b) (b) Establish whether any promises or threats were made to elicit an admission and alert all unrepresented parties to the possibility that a lawyer may discover defenses or mitigating circumstances which would not be apparent to them.
48.422(7)(bm) (bm) Establish whether a proposed adoptive parent of the child has been identified. If a proposed adoptive parent of the child has been identified and the proposed adoptive parent is not a relative of the child, the court shall order the petitioner to submit a report to the court containing the information specified in s. 48.913 (7). The court shall review the report to determine whether any payments or agreement to make payments set forth in the report are coercive to the birth parent of the child or to an alleged to presumed father of the child or are impermissible under s. 48.913 (4). Making any payment to or on behalf of the birth parent of the child, an alleged or presumed father of the child or the child conditional in any part upon transfer or surrender of the child or the termination of parental rights or the finalization of the adoption creates a rebuttable presumption of coercion. Upon a finding of coercion, the court shall dismiss the petition or amend the agreement to delete any coercive conditions, if the parties agree to the amendment. Upon a finding that payments which are impermissible under s. 48.913 (4) have been made, the court may dismiss the petition and may refer the matter to the district attorney for prosecution under s. 948.24 (1). This paragraph does not apply if the petition was filed with a petition for adoptive placement under s. 48.837 (2).
48.422(7)(br) (br) Establish whether any person has coerced a birth parent or any alleged or presumed father of the child in violation of s. 48.63 (3) (b) 5. Upon a finding of coercion, the court shall dismiss the petition.
48.422(7)(c) (c) Make such inquiries as satisfactorily establish that there is a factual basis for the admission.
48.422(8) (8) If the petition for termination of parental rights is filed by an agency enumerated in s. 48.069 (1) or (2), the court shall order the agency to file a report with the court as provided in s. 48.425 (1), except that, if the child is an Indian child, the court may order the agency or request the tribal child welfare department of the Indian child's tribe to file that report.
48.422(9) (9)
48.422(9)(a)(a) If a petition for termination of the rights of a birth parent, as defined under s. 48.432 (1) (am), is filed by a person other than an agency enumerated under s. 48.069 (1) or (2) or if the court waives the report required under s. 48.425, the court shall order any parent whose rights may be terminated to file with the court the information specified under s. 48.425 (1) (am).
48.422(9)(b) (b) If a birth parent does not comply with par. (a), the court shall order any health care provider, as defined under s. 146.81 (1) (a) to (p), known to have provided care to the birth parent or parents to provide the court with any health care records of the birth parent or parents that are relevant to the child's medical condition or genetic history. A court order for the release of alcohol or drug abuse treatment records subject to 21 USC 1175 or 42 USC 4582 shall comply with 42 CFR 2.
48.422 Annotation The court erred by failing to inform parents of the right to jury trial and to representation by counsel. In re Termination of Parental Rights to M. A. M. 116 Wis. 2d 432, 342 N.W.2d 410 (1984).
48.422 Annotation Concurrent TPR/adoption proceedings under s. 48.835 are subject to the requirement under s. 48.422 that the initial hearing be held within 30 days of filing the petition. In re J.L.F. 168 Wis. 2d 634, 484 N.W.2d 359 (Ct. App. 1992).
48.422 Annotation A court's failure to inform parents of their rights under this section is not reversible error absent prejudice to the parents. Interest of Robert D. 181 Wis. 2d 887, 512 N.W.2d 227 (Ct. App. 1994).
48.422 Annotation Once a basis for termination has been found by the jury and confirmed with a finding of unfitness by the court, the court must move to the dispositional hearing in which the prevailing factor is the best interests of the child. A court should not dismiss a petition for termination at a dispositional hearing unless it can reconcile dismissal with the best interests of the child. Sheboygan County D.H.S.S. v. Julie A.B. 2002 WI 95, 255 Wis. 2d 170, 648 N.W.2d 402, 01-1692.
48.422 Annotation This section does not require the circuit court to advise nonpetitioning parties of the right under sub. (5) to a continuance to consult with counsel regarding judicial substitution. Steven V. v. Kelley H. 2004 WI 47, 271 Wis. 2d 1, 678 N.W.2d 831, 02-2860.
48.422 Annotation A competency challenge based on the violation of the statutory time limitation of sub. (2) cannot be waived, even though it was not raised in the circuit court. Sheboygan County Department of Social Services v. Matthew S. 2005 WI 84, 282 Wis. 2d 150, 698 N.W.2d 631, 04-0901.
48.422 Annotation Any alternative to a parent's personal presence at a proceeding to terminate his or her parental rights must, unless the parent knowingly waives the right or the ministerial nature of the proceedings make personal-presence unnecessary, be functionally equivalent to personal presence. The parent must be able to assess the witnesses, confer with his or her lawyer, and, of course, hear everything that is going on. State v. Lavelle W. 2005 WI App 266, 288 Wis. 2d 504, 708 N.W.2d 698, 05-1604.
48.422 Annotation When every option to secure the physical presence in the courtroom of a deported father failed and a webcam system was used by which the father could see and hear the proceedings in the courtroom and be seen and heard by the local participants, the father was offered meaningful participation in termination proceedings, unlike the telephone connection used in Lavelle W. Waukesha County Dept. of Health & Human Services v. Teodoro E. 2008 WI App 16, 307 Wis. 2d 372, 745 N.W.2d 701, 07-2283.
48.422 Annotation While not required, circuit courts in TPR proceedings are urged to consider personally engaging the parent in a colloquy explaining that a stipulation to an element withdraws that element from the jury's consideration and determining that the withdrawal of that element from the jury is knowing and voluntary. Walworth County DH&HS v. Andrea L. O. 2008 WI 46, 309 Wis. 2d 161, 749 N.W.2d 168, 07-0008.
48.422 Annotation A parent was deprived of the right to a jury trial when the court, rather than the jury, answered one of the verdict questions on an element of parental unfitness. Although counsel had stipulated that the element was satisfied, the parent had not agreed to the stipulation in open court, the required documentary evidence of the element was missing from the record, and the evidence adduced was not so “ample" as to make the element “undisputed and undisputable." Manitowoc County Human Services Department v. Allen J. 2008 WI App 137, 314 Wis. 2d 100, 757 N.W.2d 842, 07-1494.
48.422 Annotation In order for no contest pleas at the grounds stage to be entered knowingly and intelligently, parents must understand that acceptance of their plea will result in a finding of parental unfitness. Sub. (7) requires, at the very least, that a court must inform the parent that at the 2nd step of the process, the court will hear evidence related to the disposition and then will either terminate the parent's rights or dismiss the petition if the evidence does not warrant termination. Additionally, the court must inform the parent that the best interests of the child shall be the prevailing factor considered by the court in determining the disposition. Oneida County Department of Social Services v. Therese S. 2008 WI App 159, 314 Wis. 2d 493, 762 N.W.2d 122, 08-1126.
48.422 Annotation No provision of the federal or state constitutions nor this section mandates that a parent's waiver of the right to a jury trial on the grounds for termination must be on the record during a personal colloquy with the judge. Here, although the court did not personally ask the mother whether she wished to waive her right to a jury trial, the record made clear that she did knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive that right. That is the benchmark. Racine County Human Services Department v. Latanya D. K. 2013 WI App 28, 346 Wis. 2d 75, 828 N.W.2d 251, 12-1121.
48.422 Annotation Due process does not require appointment of counsel for indigent parents in every parental status termination proceeding. Lassiter v. Dept. of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18 (1981).
48.422 Annotation Judge or Jury? How Best to Preserve Due Process in Wisconsin Termination of Parental Rights Cases. Bloodworth. 2013 WLR 1039.
48.423 48.423 Rights of persons alleging paternity.
48.423(1) (1)Rights to paternity determination. If a person appears at the hearing and claims that he is the father of the child, the court shall set a date for a hearing on the issue of paternity or, if all parties agree, the court may immediately commence hearing testimony concerning the issue of paternity. The court shall inform the person claiming to be the father of the child of any right to counsel under s. 48.23. The person claiming to be the father of the child must prove paternity by clear and convincing evidence. A person who establishes his paternity of the child under this section may further participate in the termination of parental rights proceeding only if the person meets the conditions specified in sub. (2) or meets a condition specified in s. 48.42 (2) (b) or (bm).
48.423(2) (2)Rights of out-of-state fathers. A person who may be the father of a nonmarital child who is not adopted or whose parents do not subsequently intermarry under s. 767.803 and whose paternity has not been established may contest the petition, present evidence relevant to the issue of disposition, and make alternative dispositional recommendations if the person appears at the hearing, establishes paternity under sub. (1), and proves all of the following by a preponderance of the evidence:
48.423(2)(a) (a) That the person resides and has resided in another state where the mother of the child resided or was located at the time of or after the conception of the child.
48.423(2)(b) (b) That the mother left that state without notifying or informing that person that she could be located in this state.
48.423(2)(c) (c) That the person attempted to locate the mother through every reasonable means, but did not know or have reason to know that the mother was residing or located in this state.
48.423(2)(d) (d) That the person has complied with the requirements of the state where the mother previously resided or was located to protect and preserve his paternal interests in matters affecting the child.
48.423 History History: 1979 c. 330; 2005 a. 293; 2007 a. 96, 97.
48.424 48.424 Fact-finding hearing.
48.424(1) (1) The purpose of the fact-finding hearing is to determine in cases in which the petition was contested at the hearing on the petition under s. 48.422 all of the following:
48.424(1)(a) (a) Whether grounds exist for the termination of parental rights.
48.424(1)(b) (b) Whether the allegations specified in s. 48.42 (1) (e) have been proved in cases involving the involuntary termination of parental rights to an Indian child.
48.424(2) (2) The fact-finding hearing shall be conducted according to the procedure specified in s. 48.31 except as follows:
48.424(2)(a) (a) The court may exclude the child from the hearing.
48.424(2)(b) (b) The hearing shall be closed to the public.
48.424(3) (3) If the facts are determined by a jury, the jury may only decide whether any grounds for the termination of parental rights have been proved and whether the allegations specified in s. 48.42 (1) (e) have been proved in cases involving the involuntary termination of parental rights to an Indian child. The court shall decide what disposition is in the best interest of the child.
48.424(4) (4) If grounds for the termination of parental rights are found by the court or jury, the court shall find the parent unfit. A finding of unfitness shall not preclude a dismissal of a petition under s. 48.427 (2). Except as provided in s. 48.23 (2) (b) 3., the court shall then proceed immediately to hear evidence and motions related to the dispositions enumerated in s. 48.427. Except as provided in s. 48.42 (2g) (ag), the court may delay making the disposition and set a date for a dispositional hearing no later than 45 days after the fact-finding hearing if any of the following apply:
48.424(4)(a) (a) All parties to the proceeding agree.
48.424(4)(b) (b) The court has not yet received a report to the court on the history of the child as provided in s. 48.425 and the court now orders an agency enumerated in s. 48.069 (1) or (2) to file that report with the court, or, in the case of an Indian child, now orders that agency or requests the tribal child welfare department of the Indian child's tribe to file such a report, before the court makes the disposition on the petition.
48.424(5) (5) If the court delays making a permanent disposition under sub. (4), it may transfer temporary custody of the child to an agency for placement of the child until the dispositional hearing. Placement of an Indian child under this subsection shall comply with the order of placement preference under s. 48.028 (7) (b) or, if applicable, s. 48.028 (7) (c), unless the agency finds good cause, as described in s. 48.028 (7) (e), for departing from that order.
48.424 History History: 1979 c. 330; 1987 a. 383; 2009 a. 94; 2013 a. 337.
48.424 Annotation Although the best interests of the child standard does not apply to the fact-finding hearing, the guardian ad litem can represent the interests of the child to develop the facts as they relate to whether the grounds for termination exist. When a jury is the fact-finder, the guardian ad litem should be permitted to exercise peremptory challenges in jury selection. Interest of C.E.W. 124 Wis. 2d 47, 368 N.W.2d 47 (1985).
48.424 Annotation Despite jury findings that grounds for termination exist, the court may dismiss a termination petition if evidence does not support the jury's finding or if the evidence of unfitness is not so egregious as to warrant termination; whether the evidence supports termination is a matter of discretion. In Interest of K.D.J. 163 Wis. 2d 90, 470 N.W.2d 914 (1991).
48.424 Annotation Once a basis for termination has been found by the jury and confirmed with a finding of unfitness by the court, the court must move to the dispositional hearing in which the prevailing factor is the best interests of the child. A court should not dismiss a petition for termination at a dispositional hearing unless it can reconcile dismissal with the best interests of the child. Sheboygan County D.H.S.S. v. Julie A.B. 2002 WI 95, 255 Wis. 2d 170, 648 N.W.2d 402, 01-1692.
48.424 Annotation While not required, circuit courts in TPR proceedings are urged to consider personally engaging the parent in a colloquy explaining that a stipulation to an element withdraws that element from the jury's consideration and determining that the withdrawal of that element from the jury is knowing and voluntary. Walworth County DH&HS v. Andrea L. O. 2008 WI 46, 309 Wis. 2d 161, 749 N.W.2d 168, 07-0008.
48.424 Annotation A parent was deprived of the right to a jury trial when the court, rather than the jury, answered one of the verdict questions on an element of parental unfitness. Although counsel had stipulated that the element was satisfied, the parent had not agreed to the stipulation in open court, the required documentary evidence of the element was missing from the record, and the evidence adduced was not so “ample" as to make the element “undisputed and undisputable." Manitowoc County Human Services Department v. Allen J. 2008 WI App 137, 314 Wis. 2d 100, 757 N.W.2d 842, 07-1494.
48.424 Annotation The circuit court is not obligated to inform the parent that by pleading no contest to grounds for termination the parent is waiving the constitutional right to parent or that the right to parent is a constitutional right. What is important is that the parent understands the import of the rights at stake rather than the sources from which they are derived. For a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent plea, the parent must be informed of the two independent dispositions available to the circuit court, dismissing the petition and terminating parental rights. Brown County Department of Human Services v. Brenda B. 2011 WI 6, 331 Wis. 2d 310, 795 N.W.2d 730, 10-0321.
48.424 Annotation Contrary to the Child's Best Interest: Children's Court Proceedings. Sowinski and Wiensch. Wis. Law. Apr. 2013.
48.425 48.425 Court report by an agency.
48.425(1) (1) If the court orders an agency enumerated under s. 48.069 (1) or (2) to file a report under s. 48.422 (8) or 48.424 (4) (b) or requests the tribal child welfare department of an Indian child's tribe to file such a report, the agency or tribal child welfare department, if that department consents, shall file a report with the court which shall include:
48.425(1)(a) (a) The social history of the child.
48.425(1)(am) (am) A medical record of the child on a form provided by the department which shall include:
48.425(1)(am)1. 1. The medical and genetic history of the birth parents and any medical and genetic information furnished by the birth parents about the child's grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.
48.425(1)(am)2. 2. A report of any medical examination which either birth parent had within one year before the date of the petition.
48.425(1)(am)3. 3. A report describing the child's prenatal care and medical condition at birth.
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 57 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before August 11, 2017. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after August 11, 2017 are designated by NOTES. (Published 8-11-17)