Wisconsin No-Fault Divorce Laws

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, which means the dissolution of a marriage does not require either party to show wrongdoing by the other party. As a no-fault divorce state, Wisconsin residents are not required, as they may be in other states, to wait 180 days to five years to file a no-fault divorce.

Wisconsin law provides family courts the ability to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party of a marriage. The petitioner is not required to provide proof the other party breached the marital contract.

Required Divorce Waiting Period

Wisconsin Statue 767.355 states once a petition is filed and served to the other party the divorce hearing will not be scheduled for a minimum of 120 days. Unfortunately the same rules apply whether married parties file a joint petition for divorce, the 120 day waiting period is still required.

Divorce Residency Requirements

The dissolution of marriage in Wisconsin does not require fault, but there are strict residency requirements as well as a required waiting period. Wisconsin Statute 767.301 states one spouse must be a resident of Wisconsin a minimum of 6 months as well as a resident of a county for a minimum of 30 days prior to filing a petition for divorce.

What Counts?

If you can answer yes to the following questions you meet the Wisconsin residency requirements and can file a petition for divorce in your current county.

  • Have I been considered a legal resident of Wisconsin for the last six months?
  • Have I been considered a legal resident of the Wisconsin county I am filing my divorce for the last 30 days?

Legal Grounds for filing a No-Fault Divorce

As a no-fault divorce state, Wisconsin has determined the only required grounds for divorce is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This can be shown to the court in one of three ways based on Wisconsin Statute 767.07:

  • A joint petition is filed by the married parties requesting a divorce
  • The married parties are found to be living separate and apart for 12 months
  • A family court finds the marriage as irretrievable and broken down with no possible chance of reconciliation

Don’t allow the situation to get out of hand. Talk to an experienced family law attorney that will help you by forecasting the major issues and set clear expectations. We will help you manage stress during very difficult decisions and keep you prepared.