2017 Wisconsin Statutes & Annotations
Chapter 48. Children's code.
48.315 Delays, continuances and extensions.

Universal Citation: WI Stat § 48.315 (2017)

48.315 Delays, continuances and extensions.

(1) The following time periods shall be excluded in computing time periods under this chapter:

(a) Any period of delay resulting from other legal actions concerning the child or the unborn child and the unborn child's expectant mother, including an examination under s. 48.295 or a hearing related to the mental condition of the child, the child's parent, guardian or legal custodian or the expectant mother, prehearing motions, waiver motions and hearings on other matters.

(b) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted at the request of or with the consent of the child and his or her counsel or of the unborn child's guardian ad litem.

(c) Any period of delay caused by the disqualification of a judge.

(d) Any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted at the request of the representative of the public under s. 48.09 if the continuance is granted because of the unavailability of evidence material to the case when he or she has exercised due diligence to obtain the evidence and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the evidence will be available at the later date, or to allow him or her additional time to prepare the case and additional time is justified because of the exceptional circumstances of the case.

(e) Any period of delay resulting from the imposition of a consent decree.

(f) Any period of delay resulting from the absence or unavailability of the child or expectant mother.

(fm) Any period of delay resulting from the inability of the court to provide the child with notice of an extension hearing under s. 48.365 due to the child having run away or otherwise having made himself or herself unavailable to receive that notice.

(g) A reasonable period of delay when the child is joined in a hearing with another child as to whom the time for a hearing has not expired under this section if there is good cause for not hearing the cases separately.

(h) Any period of delay resulting from the need to appoint a qualified interpreter.

(j) A reasonable period of delay, not to exceed 20 days, in a proceeding involving the out-of-home care placement of or termination of parental rights to a child whom the court knows or has reason to know is an Indian child, resulting from a continuance granted at the request of the child's parent, Indian custodian, or tribe to enable the requester to prepare for the proceeding.

(1m)Subsection (1) (a), (d), (e), (fm), (g), and (j) does not apply to proceedings under s. 48.375 (7).

(2) A continuance shall be granted by the court only upon a showing of good cause in open court or during a telephone conference under s. 807.13 on the record and only for so long as is necessary, taking into account the request or consent of the district attorney or the parties and the interest of the public in the prompt disposition of cases.

(2m) No continuance or extension of a time period specified in this chapter may be granted and no period of delay specified in sub. (1) may be excluded in computing a time period under this chapter if the continuance, extension, or exclusion would result in any of the following:

(a) The court making an initial finding under s. 48.21 (5) (b) 1. or 1m., 48.32 (1) (b) 1., 48.355 (2) (b) 6., or 48.357 (2v) (a) 1. that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent the removal of the child from the home, while assuring that the child's health and safety are the paramount concerns, or an initial finding under s. 48.21 (5) (b) 3., 48.32 (1) (b) 2., 48.355 (2) (b) 6r., or 48.357 (2v) (a) 3. that those efforts were not required to be made because a circumstance specified in s. 48.355 (2d) (b) 1. to 5. applies, more than 60 days after the date on which the child was removed from the home.

(b) The court making an initial finding under s. 48.38 (5m) that the agency primarily responsible for providing services to the child has made reasonable efforts to achieve the permanency goal of the child's permanency plan more than 12 months after the date on which the child was removed from the home or making any subsequent findings under s. 48.38 (5m) as to those reasonable efforts more than 12 months after the date of a previous finding as to those reasonable efforts.

(c) The court making a finding under s. 48.366 (3) (am) 3. that a person's placement in out-of-home care under a transition-to-independent-living agreement is in the best interests of the person more than 180 days after the date on which the agreement is entered into.

(3) Failure by the court or a party to act within any time period specified in this chapter does not deprive the court of personal or subject matter jurisdiction or of competency to exercise that jurisdiction. Failure to object to a period of delay or a continuance waives any challenge to the court's competency to act during the period of delay or continuance. If the court or a party does not act within a time period specified in this chapter, the court, while assuring the safety of the child, may grant a continuance under sub. (2), dismiss the proceeding without prejudice, release the child from secure or nonsecure custody or from the terms of a custody order, or grant any other relief that the court considers appropriate.

History: 1977 c. 354; Sup. Ct. Order, 141 Wis. 2d xiii (1987); 1987 a. 403; 1991 a. 263; 1993 a. 98; 1997 a. 292; 2001 a. 16, 109; 2007 a. 20, 199; 2009 a. 94; 2011 a. 181; 2013 a. 170; 2015 a. 55, 373.

A trial court's sua sponte adjournment of a fact-finding hearing beyond the 30-day limit due to a congested calendar constituted good cause under sub. (2) when the adjournment order was entered within the 30-day period. In Matter of J.R. 152 Wis. 2d 598, 449 N.W.2d 52 (Ct. App. 1989).

The period under sub. (1) (c) includes the time required to assign the new judge, send any required notices, notify the parties, and arrange for time on the court's calendar; applicable time limits for plea hearings apply after the assignment of the new judge. In Interest of Joshua M.W. 179 Wis. 2d 335, 507 N.W.2d 141 (Ct. App. 1993).

Under sub. (2), “on the record" does not require reporting by a court reporter. A clerk's minutes satisfy the requirement. Waukesha County v. Darlene R. 201 Wis. 2d 633, 549 N.W.2d 489 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-1697.

The benefits of a pretrial are universally recognized by bench and bar such that a court need not specify the factors supporting “good cause" for a continuance of the time limits under sub. (2). Waukesha County v. Darlene R. 201 Wis. 2d 633, 549 N.W.2d 489 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-1697.

Under sub. (1) (a), the time limits are tolled for an examination of a parent under s. 48.295. Waukesha County v. Darlene R. 201 Wis. 2d 633, 549 N.W.2d 489 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-1697.

The word “continuance" in sub. (2) is sufficiently broad to encompass situations in which the fact-finding hearing is originally scheduled beyond the statutory 45-day time period. A circuit court's schedule or lawyers' or litigants' difficulties in scheduling court dates may amount to good cause for extension, delay, or continuance under sub. (2). State v. Robert K. 2005 WI 152, 286 Wis. 2d 143, 706 N.W.2d 257, 04-2330.

Reassignment of a case to a different judge because of docket congestion does not constitute disqualification of a judge under sub. (1) (c). Brown County v. Shannon R. 2005 WI 160, 286 Wis. 2d 278, 706 N.W.2d 269, 04-1305.

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