In past articles, we have covered a general overview of what a stipulated divorce is and what it entails, and the default checklist. There are specific and general processes, and court expectations that must be satisfied in order to successfully have a stipulated divorce granted. In this article, we will cover the common findings that will be made in light of success up to this point.
Once the court has heard the testimony from both parties, reviewed the financial declarations and the stipulation, the court will then make their findings – unless certain areas need further review. In the case that the court is satisfied and needs to make no further reviews, a common scenario would begin with the judge stating further satisfaction that the parties have been separated for the predetermined or agreed upon amount of time. This finding is made in accordance with the understanding that there is no reasonable chance the couple will mend their marriage, thus, finding the marriage irretrievably broken.
Once this has been established, the court will validate the financial declaration and find the petitioners income level at their confirmed amount, and the respondent’s income level at their confirmed amount. This basically establishes that the court accepts the validity of the declaration verbally.
The next finding will be in regards to the child custody and provisions. The court will find that the stipulated actions pursuant to the physical custody, placement, or joint custody have been accepted. The judge will also verbally state that the court finds this agreement to be in the best interest of the child. Further, support provisions will be recognized as meeting guidelines. If the support agreement does not meet the guidelines set forth, it will be explained why the court has accepted this support agreement.
The matter of maintenance will be addressed. The court will accept a waiver or support amount based on the stipulation. It will be found to be fair, and then a statement will follow as to why it has been found as such.
The last step of the findings will cover the property division. The court will state satisfaction with the 50/50 split, or if it is not, explain the rationale for the acceptance. This is common in the cases of inherited property, pre-owned property, etc. At this stage, the judge will declare acceptance of the stipulation, and grant the divorce.
The parties will both be advised that even though their marriage is over under Wisconsin law, neither party can marry again for six months. The parties will be asked to confirm this understanding, and that it is applicable anywhere in the world. The judge will then restore maiden names, if requested. The clerk will then take both parties to the relevant office for wage assignment.
Family Law Attorney