How Do I File for Divorce in Wisconsin?

How Do I File for Divorce in Wisconsin?

File for Divorce in Wisconsin
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Stuart Miles

Step One: File the Paperwork for Divorce in Wisconsin

  • Choose Your County to File for Divorce in Wisconsin:
    • Under Wisconsin divorce law, you must file for divorce in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for the last 30 days.  In addition, either you or your spouse must have lived in Wisconsin for the last 6 months.
  • File for Divorce in Wisconsin with the Correct Paperwork:
    • You will need to file the following divorce documents:
      • Summons and Petition for Divorce in Wisconsin:
        • These documents are best drafted by an experienced divorce attorney so they can be tailored to your particular situation.
        • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: Your Petition for Divorce must include a request for everything you want or may want as part of the divorce (maintenance, child support, property division, etc.) so make sure you include all of those things in the Petition for Divorce.  If you do not include those things the court may not allow you to request those things later on in the divorce.  Having an experienced divorce lawyer draft these documents will ensure that you get everything you are entitled to under the law.
        • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: If you and your spouse are both requesting a divorce, you should file a Joint Petition for Divorce.
      • Order to Show Cause with Affidavit:
        • The first court hearing after you file for divorce in Wisconsin is called the “first hearing.”  At the “first hearing,” the court will enter an order called the temporary order.  The temporary order dictates who will pay the marital debts while the divorce is pending, where the children will live, and who will live in the marital residence.  The Order to Show Cause asks the court to enter a temporary order to protect you financially during the divorce.
      • Confidential Petition Addendum:
        • This document identifies all the parties to the divorce.  This would include you, your spouse, and any minor children.  Be sure to include the current address, phone number, and social security of each person.

 

File for Divorce in Wisconsin

Step Two: Serve the Documents after You File for Divorce in Wisconsin

  • After you file for divorce in Wisconsin, you will need to hire a process server to serve the divorce documents on your spouse.
    • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: If you and your spouse filed a joint petition for divorce, then you do not need to serve your spouse with the divorce papers.

Step Three:  Attend the First Hearing after You File for Divorce in Wisconsin

  • The first court hearing in a divorce is called the First Hearing.  You must attend this hearing and bring a completed Financial Disclosure Statement with you.
    • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: Always have an experienced divorce lawyer assist you in filling out the financial disclosure statement.  Filing an incomplete or incorrect financial disclosure statement can result in your divorce being reopened in the future or you being held in contempt of court, or both.
  • At this hearing, the court commissioner will decide:
    • Who will live in the marital residence while the divorce is pending;
    • Who your children will live with while the divorce is pending;
    • Who will be responsible for paying the marital debts while the divorce is pending;
    • Who will provide health insurance for the family while the divorce is pending; and
    • Whether one spouse will be required to pay the other spouse maintenance while the divorce is pending.
  • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip:  In many Wisconsin divorces, the decisions made by the court commissioner at the First Hearing have a huge impact on what you will get or not get at the end of your divorce.  Always consult with an experienced Wisconsin divorce lawyer before the First Hearing to make sure you get everything you are entitled to under the law.

Step Four: Draft a Marital Settlement Agreement

  • A Marital Settlement Agreement (also called a divorce decree) is the written agreement between you and your spouse regarding the following:
    • How your marital property will be divided;
    • How much child support and/or maintenance will be paid;
    • Who the children will live with;
    • Who will play the marital debts; and
    • What will happen to the marital residence after the divorce.
  • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: It is best to have a Wisconsin divorce lawyer draft a marital settlement agreement for you.  That way the marital settlement agreement can be drafted in a way that gives you everything you want in the divorce and makes it easy to enforce the marital settlement agreement if your spouse does follow it in the future.  This can literally save you thousands of dollars and hours of time in the future.

Step Five: The Final Divorce Hearing

  • A Wisconsin divorce cannot be granted for 120 days after your spouse was served with the divorce papers.  The final divorce hearing occurs after 120 days have passed.  At the final divorce hearing, you will present your marital settlement agreement to the court commissioner along with an updated Financial Disclosure Statement.  The court will grant your divorce at the final divorce hearing.

 

  • Wisconsin Divorce Lawyer Tip: It may take a few days to a few weeks for the court to process your divorce paperwork.  Therefore, although you are divorced on the day of your final divorce hearing, you may not get the paperwork to prove that you are divorced for a few days.  You will need this paperwork to get a new drivers license and social security card if you are going to resume using your maiden name.

Call Wisconsin divorce lawyer Christopher Glinski for a free consultation at (262) 632-1555.

 

 

Call Now ButtonCall Now