How to File for Divorce in Dane County, Wisconsin

To file for a divorce in Dane County, Wisconsin, you need the correct forms. To file it in person, you go to the clerk of courts office on Hamilton Street in Madison. After filing, you can get a temporary order that outlines short-term solutions for things like property division, child custody, and child support.

Filing for a divorce can be a challenging and an emotional time. The first step of filing for a divorce in Dane County, Wisconsin is to decide how you will file. Before you can do this, you need to know whether you are able to file.

Before Your File

The only grounds needed for divorce in Wisconsin is for the marriage to be “irretrievably broken.”[1] If the marriage cannot be fixed, you must determine if one or both parties will be filing the petition.

For the state requirements, at least one spouse must have resided in Wisconsin for the previous six months. For county requirements, the person filing must also have resided in Dane County for the previous 30 days to file here. If these requirements are met, the case can begin.

Petitioning for Divorce

If one party is petitioning, you will begin with the preliminary steps of completing the summons and petition forms. If parties are filing together, the joint petition with the addition of the summons is used instead.

Within 90 days of filing, the other party must be notified. After this, a meeting will be held to determine if there are areas of disagreement on issues such as child custody, spousal support, or the division of assets. If disagreements are present, then a temporary hearing will be scheduled.

If the other party does not respond, then the divorce will continue by default. If the other party responds within 20 days and agrees with the petition, then the divorce will proceed uncontested. If the other party disagrees, then the divorce will continue as contested.

For Immediate help with your family law case or answering any questions please call (262) 221-8123 now!

Waiting Period

Before the divorce can be concluded, there is a 120-day waiting period. The temporary hearing can happen during that time if needed or it can be waived. After this, you file the agreements with the Clerk of the Circuit Courts at 215 S Hamilton Street in Madison.

Documents or actions set out by the agreement or temporary hearing are completed during the 120-day waiting period. Such actions can include the completion of any parenting classes recommended by the court and filing further documents.

Prior to the end of the waiting period, a date will be set for the final hearing and additional documents will need to be completed. Your attorney will assist with these documents to ensure that everything is ready for the final hearing date. If you need an attorney for this or any other step, call Sterling Law Offices.

Final Hearing

If both parties can come to an agreement before the final trial date, the trial doesn’t need to happen and the marital settlement agreement can be created. If parties don’t agree, the trial will happen where each party lays out their argument. The trial will take place at the Dane County Courthouse.

After each party makes their case, the judge makes a decision on any outstanding issues. Then, the court approves the Marital Separation Agreement, and the divorce will be granted. There will be a few more documents to sign and then the divorce process will be complete.

Are you ready to move forward? Call (262) 221-8123 to schedule a strategy session with one of our attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I file for divorce in Dane County?

If you are filing in person, you file at the Dane County Courthouse. The courthouse is located at 215 S Hamilton Street in Madison. You file your divorce forms with the clerk of courts.

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Dane County, Wisconsin?

As of 2022, it costs $184.50 to file for divorce in Dane County if there is no petition for maintenance or child support. If one party is requesting maintenance or child support, then the cost to file the petition is $194.50. Costs vary if you hire a lawyer.

How do I start to file for divorce in Madison?

The first step to filing for divorce is deciding whether or not you want an attorney. You can begin your research to understand the divorce process, but it is best to decide if you want an attorney early on. If you do want an attorney, they can walk you through every step from filing to final hearing.

Where do I file for divorce in Dane County?

You file for divorce with the Dane County Clerk of Courts. This is done at the Dane County courthouse in Madison.

Who is the Dane County Clerk of Courts?

In 2018, Carlo Esquada was elected to the position of Clerk of Courts in Dane County. He is the incumbent for the election in 2022 and likely to serve another term.

Can I file for divorce myself?

You do not need an attorney to file for divorce. It can make the process much easier to have an attorney, but it is not required. If you do file on your own, it is a good idea to read the laws and statutes that affect divorce in Wisconsin.

Reference: 1. Frequently Asked Questions. Dane County Clerk of Courts. (n.d.)

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