How to Get a Divorce Without a Lawyer in Wisconsin
You do not need a lawyer to file a divorce in Wisconsin. Filing a divorce without lawyer is called a Pro Se Divorce. If you have the time and emotional bandwidth to understand the court rules and procedures a DIY will save you money.
DIY or Do-It-Yourself Divorce
Also known in the legal community as a pro se divorce, DIY divorce is when you represent yourself and work through the court procedures without the guidance of an attorney. The court expects the same level of legal adherence to court procedure from a pro se litigant as they would from an attorney. This means a pro se litigant must file the necessary paperwork with a judge and come to an agreement with their spouse without the help of an attorney. The pro se litigant must also follow the county-specific court procedures.
A divorce can be filed either jointly (meaning both parties agree to end the marriage) or as an individual. In the case where you file for a divorce alone, you will have to arrange for the papers to be served to your spouse in an official capacity. This may seem arbitrary, but improper service will force the court to enforce proper service statues. This means in nearly all instances restarting the process from the beginning.
Depending on how long you've been married and if you have children, the process can be relatively simple or extraordinarily complex.
Is a DIY Divorce Right for You?
Our reasoned opinion is that many pro se litigants deal with frustrations within the court system due to a lack of knowledge of the procedures. Many times, when divorcing spouses have limited acrimony, no children, and or limited assets/debts to divide they are more than capable of coming up with an acceptable marital settlement agreement. However, limited knowledge of the process forces many divorcing spouses to start, stop and restart wasting months of time as well as several hundred dollars in court filing fees.
From our perspective unless you are familiar with the court system and local county procedural rules you should at a minimum hire an attorney to coach you through the process. We believe this will save you months of time and frustration, and it will properly inform you of your rights as they relate to any agreement you sign. Sterling Law Offices offers many low-cost options to facilitate this process for those with limited resources and or agreed-upon divorce issues.
The Benefits of Do-It-Yourself Divorce
- Lowest cost option
- Great if no kids, no assets, no debt, similar income, less than 3-year marriage
- Great if county court procedures are clear and understood
Ready to start your DIY Divorce journey? Take the first step and download the free Wisconsin divorce forms.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Wisconsin?
There is a 120-day waiting period that begins after parties file for their divorce. Other than that, there is no waiting period if both parties want to get a divorce. This is because Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state.
How much does it cost to file an uncontested divorce in Wisconsin?
Depending on the county, the filing fees usually cost around $180. Different counties have different prices. There are sometimes different fees depending on whether you are the petitioner or the respondent. However, you can get these fees waived if you don’t have the financial means to cover them.
How much does it cost to get a divorce in the state of Wisconsin?
A divorce usually costs around $10,000 including all the attorney's fees. The cost of a divorce can be much more if the case is complicated or much less if it is simple. It depends on how much property there is, how many children there, and other key factors.
Can I get divorced without a lawyer?
Yes, you can get a divorce without a lawyer. Having an attorney on your side makes the process much easier, but it also makes it cost more. You will want an attorney if you think the other party is going to be hard to work with.
Can I get a divorce without going to court?
You will need to go to court to get a divorce. You will at least need to get your divorce finalized in court. However, with recent changes to the courts, many cases can be heard over Zoom if necessary.
Is one sided divorce possible?
One sided divorce is possible if one party refuses to take part in the process. If they never respond after being lawfully served, the court will rule based on the information they have from the filing spouse. To begin your case, get the paperwork you need to file for your divorce.
How can I pay for a divorce with no money?
If you do not have the money for a divorce, there are a couple of things you can do. You can get your filing fees waived by the court by sending in a fee waiver.
Then, if your divorce isn’t too complicated, you can do it without the help from an attorney. Or, if you do need an attorney, you can get help with sections rather than the whole thing.