Create a Checklist for a Stipulated Divorce

During a stipulated divorce, there are many processes to be taken and requirements that must be met. A checklist is a great way to address the particular undertakings needed in order to successfully navigate the stipulated divorce requirements. 

Before the case is called, the clerk or judge will establish that the following documents are in the court file [§ 1.2]. This includes establishing the summons and petition. This will also include all applicable custody information as required in § 822.29. Next will be the financial declaration for both parties, as long as the respondent has been served. The certificate of compliance must also be validated, as will the vital statistics form. The written stipulation must further be produced at this time. If only one party appears in court, an order of appearance must be rendered. This is unless a joint petition has been filed.

Once the presence of these documents has been established, and the witnesses have been sworn in, the following questions should/will be asked to both parties; The date of the marriage beginning, are there any children involved, the children's date of birth, and how long have the parties been separated, if at all. The parties will be asked their name, home address, the venue and jurisdiction, and both parties date of birth. The line of questioning will proceed by requesting social security numbers, employment information, whether the financial declaration is accurate, whether or not any public assistance has been provided for the family, questions pertaining to previous marriages and previous divorce actions, and finally, the grounds for divorce. This question is correctly answered by stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Other questions include whether the wife is currently pregnant.

After the completion of the initial line of questioning to establish personal information, a line of questioning will begin pertaining to the stipulated divorce, directly. First, a copy of the stipulation should be handed to both parties. Both will then be asked whether or not they had personally signed the stipulation. You will also both be asked whether it disposes all of your property, and whether the stipulation acts in the best interest of your child(ren). It will be asked how long the stipulation has been in place, and if there are provisions regarding healthcare, uninsured medical, tax exemption(s), and life insurance beneficiaries.

It will be asked whether there is a child support order in place. If so, does it express a fixed sum? If so, does it meet a percentage standard? If not, the court will calculate the percentage order and/or express the reason(s) for deviating from the percentage order as stated in § 767.511. If child support is expressed as a percentage order, it will be established whether the parties stipulated to use a percentage, and state they are not a real party in interest, and express that the payer is not subject to any further/other order in any other action for child, family, or maintenance support payments. Further, it must be established whether or not all payment obligations included in the support order are expressed as a percentage of payer's income, other than annual disbursement fees.

Other questions will include whether you are receiving 50% of all property owned by both parties, no matter the registered owner of said property. If not, the court should explore rationale for the finding which does not include a 50/50 split. Further, it must be established whether there is any property that is in sole possession of the other party, and when it is to be transferred. Maintenance must also be established, if any is to be awarded. If not, the exploration of the disparity in income or other pertinent factors must be commenced. The finality of a maintenance waiver must also be addressed at this time.

References: What Is a Stipulated Divorce in Wisconsin?

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