A referee is a person who holds hearings, examines
witnesses, and makes recommendations to a judge.
The chief judge of a circuit court may appoint a referee to hear testimony and arguments on any domestic
relations issue, except spousal support (alimony).
A referee hearing differs from a hearing before a
judge. A referee’s decision is only a recommendation
to the judge. A referee’s recommendation will become
a court order only if neither party files an objection
within specific time limits or (if a party does object)
the court holds a hearing and the judge then signs an
order approving the referee’s recommendation.
A party who disagrees with a referee’s recommendation
may request a new (de novo) hearing before the
judge. The objection and a request for a hearing must
be in writing and be filed with the circuit court clerk
with 21 days after the referee’s recommendation is
mailed or delivered.
You should consult an attorney for more information
on how to object to a referee’s recommendation
and request a hearing before a judge.