Served with Divorce Papers? Tips from a Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer
Once you receive divorce papers in Wisconsin, you must act quickly. The first hearing in your Wisconsin divorce may be weeks away. However, that does not mean that you should wait. Not acting quickly could result in you losing money. In addition, it could result in the court giving your spouse all that he or she requests. The good news is that it’s easy to protect yourself. More importantly, it is easy to protect your rights. Here’s what you need to know.
Tip #1 when Served with Divorce Papers: Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Divorce Attorney
For some divorces you need a divorce attorney. And for some you don’t. A quick call to an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney can give you the answer. In general, divorces that don’t involve children, large debts, or assets don’t need attorneys. But as part of the Wisconsin divorce process each spouse must disclose his or her debts and assets. So you may not know about all of your spouse’s debts and assets at the start of a divorce. A divorce attorney can help ensure that your spouse is not hiding anything. That alone can be worth the price of a good divorce attorney.
Tip #2 when Served with Divorce Papers: File a Response within 20 Days.
Wisconsin divorce law requires you to file a response within 20 days. Helpful forms and information about Wisconsin divorce is found here. The Response must state whether you agree with statements in the divorce petition. If statements in the divorce petition are not true you can correct them.
Also, the response should include a counterclaim. This is important because you can request a divorce, too. By requesting a divorce you prevent your spouse from dismissing the divorce later on without your consent. Why is that important? Because as the divorce proceeds your spouse may not like the way it is going. For example, your spouse may not be getting what he or she wants. And you may be getting what you want. At that point your spouse may move to dismiss the divorce so he or she can start over later on. You can block dismissing the divorce. But only if you filed a proper counterclaim.
Tip #3: Protect Your Assets.
After your spouse files for divorce, rules apply. One rule is that neither you nor your spouse may destroy your marital estate. Nevertheless, you should protect your assets. Divorce is often highly emotional. Thus, people do things they would not normally do. For example, your spouse may take money from a joint bank account. You likely have the right to 50% of the joint bank account balance. If your spouse takes some of your 50% you may not get it back. So take your 50% out and place it into an account in your name. Therefore, your 50% is safe. This is just one example of how you can protect your assets.