File a Divorce in Wisconsin
Gain Clarity and Understand your Options
If you are facing divorce or legal separation, you have options. Resolve issues through mediation, get a personalized divorce strategy, or get prearranged divorce forms/agreements reviewed. Our goal is to create a clear legal picture for you so you can make good, informed long term decisions.
Instead of battling everyday life plus everything involved with your divorce proceeding, work with a team you can trust. Find peace knowing you are able to dissolve the marriage relationship with your husband or wife in a way which allows you to begin healing from the love lost.
We pride our team and service on compassion, timeliness, clarity, and unrivaled client advocacy. Together, you can move forward with your life, beyond today’s legal matters.
Get a Default Judgement
A default divorce will be granted by the family court if divorce paper work is filed and the other spouse does not respond. A "default" divorce will be granted even without the participation or signed filling of the other spouse in the court proceedings. Typically default divorce judgments are granted if a spouse has left and cannot be found.
Required 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.
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.
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?
Use Dispute Resolution & Avoid a Lengthy, Expensive Divorce
An uncontested divorce is a divorce filed in a cooperative manner.
In an uncontested divorce there will be no formal trial, and likely no court appearance required. Instead of appearing in court you and your spouse will file court forms, including a marital settlement agreement or MSA. The MSA will detail all agreements made between you and your spouse about dividing property and debts, custodial arrangements for your children, as well as support payments.
The MSA and your divorce finalization will be approved by a judge. The judge will ensure the terms of the agreement are fair.
There are two methods of filing an uncontested divorce: mediated and collaborative.
A mediated divorce is a type of uncontested divorce when spouses' hire a neutral third party, called a mediator, to help you resolve issues in the divorce. This is sometimes known as dispute resolution. The role of the mediator is not to make decisions, rather the mediator's role is to facilitate communication between the couple until an agreement can be reached.
A collaborative divorce is another type of uncontested divorce where each party hires a family law attorney trained to work cooperatively, versus working as a "pit bull" litigator. These divorce lawyers agree to work towards a settlement agreement and the primary work is done in cooperation.
Get a Personalized Divorce Strategy for Litigation
In a contested divorce married parties will appear before a judge or an arbitrator. Typically these two methods of divorce are the most expensive as divorce lawyers are deeply involved and court room fees add up quickly. The two methods of obtaining a divorce when agreements cannot be met between the parties are described below.
An arbitrated divorce is a type of contested divorce where you and your spouse agree to hire a private judge, called an arbitrator. You agree the arbitrator can make similar decisions as a family court judge and you agree you will honor the arbitrator’s decision.
Just like a contested trial divorce, both parties will prepare arguments and evidence. This evidence is presented to the arbitrator, and the arbitrator will make decisions based on the evidence and the arguments.
The advantage of an arbitrated divorce versus a trial divorce is speed and cost efficiency. The process is much faster as scheduling time with an arbitrator is easier than with a county family court. The process is more cost efficient because the setting is less formal. The less formal setting lends to less preparation requirements for a divorce lawyer, saving you money.
IMPORTANT - An arbitrator’s decision is binding, meaning if you can’t ask for a do-over. You also can’t appeal arbitrator's decisions to a higher court.
A trial divorce is just as it suggests when a divorce goes to trial. Only 5% of divorces go to trial nationally as a trial divorce is very expensive as well as emotionally painful. In a trial divorce lawyers will prepare formal arguments and evidence to present the judge.
The judge will hear the arguments and evidence presented by both parties and then make decisions as it relates to living arrangements, parenting plans, child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
The judge will then develop a court order resolution to the divorce, which is determined based on the evidence and agreements of each spouse.