How to File for Divorce in Milwaukee County

To file for divorce in Milwaukee County, you must be a resident for at least 30 days. You will need to file a summons, petition, and confidential petition addendum with the Milwaukee County Clerk, pay a filing fee and serve your spouse. You must then wait 120 days for the final hearing.

Overview of Filing For Divorce in Milwaukee County

  1. You need to decide if you and your spouse will be signing the petition together (Jointly) or if just one will be completing the necessary divorce forms (filing alone).
  2. Decide if you need a temporary hearing. A temporary hearing may be requested before the Family Court Commissioner. First, you must complete an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Temporary Order. A temporary hearing is needed if you and your spouse cannot agree on the following:
    • Child Custody / Placement
    • Child Support
    • Use of the family residence
    • Use of Automobiles or other personal property
    • Payment of bills
    • Payment of maintenance
  3. The summons and petition (or joint petition) for divorce or legal separation, as well as the petition addendum, must be filed and a fee must be paid to the Clerk of Circuit Court. (There is a mandatory 120 days waiting period before the court can hear the final hearing)
  4. Deliver (serve) copies of the summons, petition, confidential petition addendum, and proposed parenting plan to your spouse, and file proof of service with the Clerk of Circuit Court.
  5. If you completed the Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Temporary Order, you must attend the Temporary Hearing you requested to have a temporary order issued.
  6. If you and your spouse are in agreement, you can complete and file a stipulation for a temporary order.
  7. If you and your spouse don’t believe a formal temporary order is necessary, you can ignore this step.
  8. If you have minor children, complete the required parenting programs and file the required parenting plans. These programs do not take the place of counseling, therapy, or mediation. You can choose whether to attend these programs together or separately if the program allows separate attendance.
  9. Obtain a date and time for your next hearing. If filing jointly, the parties will receive notice of the court date and time for the next or final hearing as the 120 day waiting period draws to a close. The 120 day wait period does not start until both parties have been served.
  10. Complete the paperwork for the final hearing, this includes:
    • A marital Settlement Agreement (If you and your spouse can agree on everything) or a Proposed Marital Settlement Order (if you can't agree).
    • Financial Disclosure Statements
    • Findings of Fact
    • Conclusions of Law, and Judgement of Divorce
    • Vital Statistic form (from the Clerk of Circuit Court Office)
  11. Attend your final hearing. Arrive 15 minutes early, be prepared with your paperwork and be polite.
  12. Complete any other documents required after the final hearing. This would include, but is not limited to:
    • Signing car titles and real estate deeds
    • Complete documents to divide pension plans (QDRO)
    • Change beneficiaries on life insurance policies
    • Revise your will, and any other matters when appropriate

Milwaukee County Mandated Divorce Counseling for Parties with Minor Children

Only attendance at approved programs will be considered as meeting this requirement. If you would like a particular program approved, either you or the provider must contact the Family Court Commissioner with the request.

Filing Fees in Milwaukee County

After filling out paperwork specific to your situation, you will need to file the paperwork and pay a fee to the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The following fees are approximate and depend entirely on what additional paperwork your case requires.

  • Filing for a Milwaukee County divorce with no request for support or maintenance is $188.00
  • Filing for divorce with a request for support or maintenance is $198.00

After filing your paperwork, there is a 120 day mandatory wait time before your final court date can be scheduled.

Any other fees can be found here: Wisconsin Circuit Court Fees (See Page 5 of the PDF) [8]

Milwaukee County Circuit court
901 N. 9th st. Room 707
Milwaukee, WI 53233
Mon-Fri 8:00 am-5:00 pm
(414) 278-5362

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