What is a Stipulated Divorce Hearing?

In a stipulated divorce hearing, both parties come to terms on elements of their case and are able to form a written agreement that's approved by the court. This stipulation is a complete agreement, leaving no contested issues, and must cover every aspect of the stipulated divorce while not excluding any issues that require a judge's decision.

What Are the Steps in Getting a Stipulated Divorce?

  • File summons and petition for divorce.
  • Prepare financial disclosure statement.
  • Attend temporary orders hearing if required.
  • If there's a dispute on custody and placement, there would be mediation.
  • Gather necessary proof on assets and debts (financial information).
  • Negotiate the marital settlement agreement.
  • Attend the final hearing.
  • Please note, each case is unique and my have steps added or subtracted.

Divorce can often times become a very complicated and time consuming process. Contested divorces occur when the divorcing parties cannot manage to agree on key issues. These kinds of divorces are very common. Although there are situations where both parties manage to agree on most issues. In these cases, they can agree to a stipulated divorce. A stipulated divorce option is similar to the uncontested divorce option found in other states, although there are legal requirements in order to carry out a stipulated divorce. Here we provide a brief overview of a stipulated divorce and the requirements needed to successfully carry one out.

First and foremost, a stipulated agreement must be voluntary and understood completely by both parties before it is signed. The agreement must cover every area of the divorce – nothing can be left out. During the time of official filing and the final divorce judgment, temporary orders may be sought. This can also be a part of the stipulation. These temporary orders established the rights of both parties while awaiting the final divorce judgment.

Even though the parties may create an agreement that covers the terms of the divorce, filing for the divorce will remain the same: it still must be done in a Wisconsin circuit court. Also, because both parties have contributed to the creation and signing of the joint petition, they may waive the requirements for service of process.

No matter the scenario, a stipulated divorce stands a much better chance of running smoothly and being approved by the court with the aid of an experienced attorney. He/she can help in the mediation process in order to assist both parties in coming to terms in the stipulation. He/she can also assist in the creation of the agreement. Through representation, you will find that much of the burden of divorce is taken off your shoulders. The process becomes much easier, allowing you to focus on what is important – taking care of yourself and/or children.

Determining Child Support in a Stipulated Divorce Hearing

When it comes to child support, a court may not approve any such support agreements unless it abides by section § 767.511.[2] Child support must be arranged as a percentage of the payer's income, or as a fixed amount, in any case. Although, child support can only be established as a percentage of income if both parties have stipulated that it is a percentage of income, Wisconsin is not an actual interested party, or the payer is not already subject to any other support orders.

Unless the court finds that the circumstances prevent the percentage standard is unfair, the support must be in accordance with state standards and laws. If the percent standard isn't used, the court must first establish the percentage order, and the court must declare why it isn't fair on record.

Next, is the court's determination of which parent is to receive an income tax exemption for the child. The court must also determine responsibility for the child's health care-related expenses. Further, is the court's determination of legal custody and physical placement. Remember, the court can reject or approve any portion of a stipulation, based on the wellbeing of the child.

In the event that a stipulation is the outcome of a mediation agreement, the court must ensure that the attorneys and guardian ad litem have reviewed the agreement, where applicable. The court must also ensure that the mediator has certified that the agreement properly addresses the agreement made by both individuals. Although, if the court rejects the established mediated agreement, it has to state all reasons in writing. If the stipulation was established without mediation, the court must make a record which determines the child's best interest in the matter. The court should also review the terms to ensure both parents fully understand what is being established. Finally, the court must establish whether or not the agreement that has been reached is reasonable and fair to both parties.

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