In Wisconsin, CHIPS petitions are a mechanism of the court system designed to protect kids. In fact, CHIPs is an acronym for child in need of protection or services. A CHIPS petition can be filed by a parent, a district attorney, a social worker, or anyone else who believes a child is in need of protection.

The CHIPS petition is a piece of paper that states what allegedly happened – whether there are allegations of abuse (or a danger of abuse), neglect or abandonment – and you’ll receive a copy in the mail if someone files one against you.

Help! My Ex Filed a CHIPS Petition Against Me!

If your ex files a CHIPS petition against you, whether or not he or she has any grounds for doing so, it’s in your best interests to find a Milwaukee defense lawyer. An attorney can walk you through what’s likely to happen in court and help protect your parental rights. In cases like these, the court does not automatically appoint a lawyer for parents; they do appoint one for the child or children involved.

How Do CHIPS Petitions Work in Wisconsin?

A concerned party (someone who believes or claims to believe that your child isn’t safe) can file a CHIPS petition with the court. Both parents will get a letter in the mail that details the time, place and date of the hearing.

In most cases, the first hearing is a plea hearing. That’s where you admit or deny what the petition says. You’re not on trial, but it may help to have your attorney with you for guidance, advice and moral support. If you contest the information in the petition, you’ll then take part in a fact finding hearing, which the judge will schedule. The fact finding hearing will take place to determine whether your child needs protection or services.

Any time you’re scheduled to appear in front of a judge, you should get insight from someone with experience in CHIPS proceedings. Remember – no matter what, you have the right to work with an attorney who understands the process and who will protect you under Wisconsin law.