Overview of Wisconsin Courts
In order to find Wisconsin court records, it's helpful to understand how the state court system works. Each state varies and we've compiled this information to help your search. You can also start your search by going directly to courts by county.
The Wisconsin trial court system consists of Circuit Courts and Municipal Courts.
Circuit Courts have general jurisdiction over all civil and criminal cases, but typically will not handle cases that are within the jurisdiction of Municipal Courts. Municipal Courts have limited jurisdiction over most municipal ordinance violations.
Circuit Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all criminal cases. Circuit Courts typically do not handle ordinance violations within the jurisdiction of a Municipal Court.
Civil cases heard by Circuit Courts include general civil claims, civil equity cases, domestic relations, probate matters and most juvenile cases.
Municipal Courts also handle some juvenile cases, including truancy, alcohol violations, drug offenses and curfew violations. Municipal Courts do not offer jury trials and cases with proper requests are transferred to Circuit Courts. Municipal Courts do not have jurisdiction over cases requesting equitable relief.
Ordinance violations are heard by Circuit Courts in areas without Municipal Courts.
These programs operate as specialized divisions of Circuit Courts.
|Case Type||Court Type|
|Civil||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|General Civil - Unlimited|
|General Civil - Limited|
|Foreclosures and Liens|
|Real Estate Title and Boundary|
|Landlord / Tenant|
|Protection, No Contact, and Restraining Orders|
|Administrative Agency Appeals|
|Criminal||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Felony Preliminary Hearings|
|Traffic and Infractions|
|Domestic Relations||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Child Custody and Visitation|
|Domestic Violence Protection Order|
|Juvenile||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Child Abuse and Neglect|
|Termination of Parental Rights|
|Children in Need of Supervision|
|Mental Health||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Other Mental Health Cases|
|Probate||Circuit Courts||Municipal Courts|
|Wills & Estates|
|Guardianships and Conservatorships|