The initiation of action in a divorce case describes the process of how to begin, what steps should be taken, and the criteria which needs to be met. For starters, one or both parties may initiate a divorce action.
The state must be served in cases where the State is a party of interest. This is a situation where AFDC or Medical Assistance is being provided to a family member or members, or during paternity cases where an application for legal services has been filed for child support.
The Rules of Civil Procedure must be adhered to when a summons or a petition is being served, unless it is a joint petition for divorce. However, if only one spouse initiates a divorce action and there are children involved, the service of summons has to include; a notification of information which is available from the office of the FCC; a notice of the contents of what is known as parental interference with custody law; the notice has to be accompanied by a certified document which states the standards and the factors involved in determining any child support. It must also be accompanied by a copy of the county’s parenting plan form, and must be served to CSA if one or both spouses are receiving some form of aid.
Once a summons has been served, the respondent has 20 days to respond. The notice itself must be outlined in statutes. There are also certain acts which are prohibited once the divorce action begins. Some of these prohibited actions are; any forms of harassment, abuse, or denying the basic rights of the other spouse or any children that might be involved; If the divorce action was filed under § 767.001(1)(a), (b), (c), (d), (h), or (i), property that is owned by either party may not be hidden, damaged, destroyed, or transferred. This is always true except in instances of conducting daily business, obtaining basic necessities, or in order to pay costs associated with the divorce within reason.
Unless the divorce has been filed under § 767.001(1)(g) or (h) – unless there is consent from the other party, court, or court commissioner – each party must refrain from; moving into a home and establishing residence with their children outside of Wisconsin, or greater than 150 miles away from the residence of the other spouse; Taking a child out of Wisconsin for any time period greater than 90 days; or hiding a child from the state or other party.
These prohibited acts remain in effect until the divorce has been dismissed, the court says otherwise, or a final divorce judgment has been rendered. If any of these prohibited acts are violated, the offender may be in contempt. An offense by violating these provisions are not considered contempt if the court finds the action was taken in order to protect or to secure the best interests of a child. This includes protecting them from abuse, restraint, emotional harm, etc. This is not considered contempt as long as there was no feasible opportunity to collect an order which authorized the action that was taken.
If you have any additional questions about an initiation to action in a stipulated divorce, give me a call.
Family Law Attorney