Can a Spouse Refuse to get a Divorce in Wisconsin?

The initiating party must allow the other party 90 days from the time of filing to respond and sign the paper. The spouse receiving the termination form has 20 days to respond. If that spouse refuses, the divorce trial will still proceed after a 120-day waiting period unless special circumstances arise.

What if I can't locate my Spouse?

Refusing to accept divorce papers, either outright or via abandonment will not stop a divorce from happening in WI, although it will likely delay the final judgement.

There are certain legal requirements that must be met before filing for divorce. In the event that one party refuses to sign divorce papers, the other party must first be a legal resident of Wisconsin for six months (and a resident for 30 days in that particular county) in order to legally file for a divorce.

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, and neither must be found at fault for any reason to file for a divorce. Since both parties have the right to divorce on grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage neither spouse can stop the divorce from happening.

Contesting Other Elements of the Divorce

Although there are a variety of valid reasons to contest divorce, understanding how community property rights and child custody rights may help expedite the decision for a divorce. In Wisconsin, property is split 50/50, unless otherwise stated in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. 

Should one party want to dispute a divorce to avoid splitting property 50/50, discussing other options with an attorney is recommended. Age, health, financial contribution, and the length of the marriage can be used to influence the judge's decision for whether to follow community property rights on all property on a case-by-case basis.


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