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Divorce Litigation

When agreements are hard to come by, a litigation attorney will get you more of your must haves.


Protect the long-term big picture. Many divorce cases do not need to go through traditional litigation, but during high conflict cases litigation is the best way to protect yourself and your children. In every divorce both sides must compromise, but a litigation attorney can ensure you get more of your must-haves. When your spouse is unwilling to negotiate reasonably becoming aggressive or unresponsive we can help facilitate and eventually compel your spouse to settle using litigation tactics granted by the court.

This is right for you if…

…you and your spouse are not communicating well and there is high conflict on specific issues such as child custody and placement, child support, alimony, dividing assets, debts, retirement accounts and or real estate.

This is also a good option when domestic violence, a mental health issue and or substance abuse is a concern.

What’s included when you hire Sterling Law Offices

  • Clarity. You will get clarity on what to expect during the process and what your rights are under the law.
  • Direction. You will get clear direction from your attorney and guidance based on what you are asking the court to give you.
  • Support. Divorce is hard and dealing with the emotions of the divorce is not always easy. We will be a sounding board and guide for you to help you face the challenges ahead.
  • Privacy. You will get the security of attorney-client privilege so all information shared is protected.
  • Everything Else.
    • Preparing your petition for divorce (court filing fee included)
    • Serving the other party divorce papers (process server fee included)
    • Complete all necessary forms with your help
    • Drafting settlement agreements
    • Filing all forms and documents
    • Completing your final divorce decree
    • Attending court hearings when required

What are the benefits of divorce litigation?

  1. Protect your children and yourself when domestic violence or substance abuse is present
  2. Maintain your rights and financial future during high conflict cases
  3. Ensure you are not getting the wool pulled over your eyes by a manipulative spouse
  4. Get peace of mind with a experienced litigation attorney in your corner
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How Divorce Litigation Works in Wisconsin

Step 1: File the Action with the Court

The first step is filing the right paperwork with the court and pay the filing fee to the county. The paperwork includes the petition, summons and confidential petition addendum. An order to show cause for temporary orders may also be filed with the initial paperwork.

Step 2: Serve the Other Party

The second step in the process is the serve the other party. This can be done using a process server, a county sheriff and or delivered from one party to the other. Once service is complete an affidavit of service must be given to the court to verify the other party was given proper notice.

Step 3: Get a Temporary Order (if needed)

Once the initial paper is filed the the other party is properly served a temporary order hearing may occur depending on circumstances. When there is high conflict and agreement cannot be found on how to handle continued payment of bills, who get the children when and or if one spouse is financial starving the other spouse a temporary order can be obtained. This temporary order is to allow both parties to continue living during the divorce process.

Step 4: Complete Co-Parenting Programs and Co-Parenting Agreements (when children are involved)

When children are involved in a divorce the parents may be ordered to take co-parenting classes to ensure the parents are properly prepared. They may also be ordered to go to mediation. These both typcially happen when divorcing parents cannot find agreement about what will happen with the children.

Step 5: Request a Settlement Conference Date

The goal of every divorce is to come to an agreement on the major issues. The first opportunity to settle a divorce is at a settlement conference. If settlement is far fleeting, the judge will want to know the progress of the matter. If this is not done the after a certain period of time the judge will dismiss the case without granting a divorce. This means the process will need to start over.

Step 6: Complete the Marital Settlement Agreement or Request a Trial Date

As stated above the goal in every divorce is to complete a marital settlement agreement and get the court to sign off on the agreement. When this is not possible due to parties unwillingness to find compromise a request for trial can be made. When this request is done it is up to the judge or court commissioner to decide whether or not to grant the request and schedule a trial. Once granted the judge will hear from both parties on the unresolved issues and grant a judgement based on the evidence presented. It should be noted 95% of family cases do not go to trial as judges prefer to allow parties to find compromise instead of picking winners and losers.

Step 7: Complete & Submit the Final Divorce Decree

Once agreement has been found or a judge has weighed in making the decision for the parties a final divorce decree must be submitted to the court and signed by the judge to make the divorce official. Without the divorce decree under the law you will still be viewed as a married.

Step 8: Complete QDRO Process to Legally Separate Assets & Debts

After the final divorce decree is signed by the judge the QDRO process may begin to legally separate you assets and debts. This process is important as it allows for retirement accounts, credit card accounts, real estate and all other financial obligations to be separated and reallocated without penalties or taxes.
divorce litigation process in wisconsin

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divorce law firm member Kelley Shaw

Kelley S.

Client Advocate

divorce law firm paralegal Nancy Stanton

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Client Advocate

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