Divorce Lawyer

Divorce Lawyer Serving Racine, Kenosha, and Milwaukee

Going through a divorce can be extremely difficult.  The stress and complexity of a divorce can be overwhelming.  You need an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer for divorce at your side.  Hiring an inexperienced divorce attorney can lead to a disastrous result. Also, representing yourself without a divorce lawyer can lead to disaster.   

At Glinski Law Office, we work hard to make the divorce process less stressful.  

  • We provide client-centered representation.  Our focus is getting you the best result.
  • Our goal is to make the divorce process as quick and painless as possible. So you can move forward with your life.  
  • We explain all the legal issues and what to expect each step of the way. 
  • Attorney Chris Glinski is one of Wisconsin’s best attorneys.  He has years of experience in complex and simple divorces.

What Divorce Issues Do You Handle?

  • Divorce.  We handle both contested and uncontested divorce.
  • Legal Separation. We can explain the difference between legal separation and divorce.  And help you choose the right one for you.
  • Maintenance & Child Support. Whether you are ordered to pay or are receiving payments, we can help.
  • Marital Property Agreement (Prenuptial Agreement). We can draft one for you to protect your property.
  • Restraining Orders. We can help you get a restraining order or defend against one.

How do I start a divorce in Wisconsin?

A divorce in Racine, Wisconsin (or anywhere else in Wisconsin) starts by filing a summons and divorce petition.  These divorce documents are available online.  You should consult with an experienced divorce lawyer before filing these documents.  The court may dismiss your divorce if the summons and divorce petition are filled out incorrectly. 

Next, you must serve the summons and divorce petition on your spouse.   The most common way to serve these documents is to hire a process server to serve the documents.  Once you file the summons and divorce petition the court will schedule a “first hearing.”  The first hearing is before a court commissioner, not a judge.

racine divorce lawyer
Photo by Billie Grace Ward

What if my spouse does not contest the divorce?

In a non-contested divorce, the parties can file what’s called a Joint Petition for Divorce. Indeed, the benefit of filing a joint petition for divorce is that it does not need to be served.  Also, you still must wait 120 days before the court will grant your divorce.  This is true even if you and your spouse agree on everything.

What happens after filing the summons and petition?

Your spouse will have an opportunity to respond to the petition by filing an answer. And once that occurs the court will hold a “first hearing.”  The first hearing is with a court commissioner, not a judge.

Divorce Lawyer Tips:

Tip 1:

You can ask the judge to review a court commission’s decision on any issue. You do this by filing a request for a de novo review. The court commissioner will make temporary orders that will be in effect while the divorce is pending. Most noteworthy, the temporary orders will address issues such as:

Tip 2:

The temporary order often becomes the final order of the court for your divorce.  Consequently, it is extremely important for you to get a favorable temporary order.  Contact an experienced divorce lawyer before your first hearing so you get the best possible temporary order

What if my spouse and I agree on everything regarding the divorce?

This will make things easier but not necessarily quicker.  File a joint petition for divorce.  You will still need to wait 120 days before the court will grant your divorce.  Draft a marital settlement agreement with your spouse.  The marital settlement agreement should state your agreement with your spouse on all the issues in the divorce.  The main issues are child custody and placement, child support, maintenance, property division, and division of debts.  Most of all, make sure your marital settlement agreement fully states your agreement on these issues..

What Is Maintenance?

Maintenance (also called alimony) in Wisconsin is money paid by one ex-spouse to another.  The higher-earning spouse pays maintenance to the lower-earning spouse.  Under Wisconsin law, married people should continue their standard of living after the divorce.

For example, let’s say a couple earns $75,000 per year during their marriage.  They are married for 20 years.  During the marriage the husband earned $75,000 per year and the wife earned $0.  Following the divorce, the husband would likely pay maintenance of around $37,500 per year to the wife.  This would ensure that each spouse continues to live on about $37,500 per year.

The court must consider many factors when determining how much maintenance to order.  These factors include:

  1. The length of the marriage;
  2. The spouses’ age and health;
  3. How marital property was divided;
  4. The earning capacity of each spouse; and
  5. Whether one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s ability to earn money.

Tip 3:

Generally, maintenance is not ordered if the parties were married for less than seven years.  Also, the court is not allowed to consider marital misconduct when ordering maintenance or dividing property.  This is why Wisconsin is called a no-fault divorce state.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce in Wisconsin?

The court cannot grant your divorce for at least 120 days.  The 120 days starts to run from the day your spouse receives the divorce papers.  Even if you and your spouse agree on everything you still must wait 120 days.

How Does the Court Decide on Custody and Placement of Children?

Custody refers to decision-making for your children.  In Wisconsin, the court assumes that joint custody is best for your children.  Joint custody means that both parents have an equal say in major decisions such as religion, school, etc.

Placement refers to where your children will live.  If you and your spouse agree on where your children will live the court will often agree.  Otherwise, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and Family Court Worker.  The Guardian ad Litem is an attorney the court appoints to represent your children.  The Family Court Worker is not an attorney.  The Guardian ad Litem and the Family Court Worker investigate your case and decide what placement schedule is best.  The court will almost always order whatever the GAL and Family Court Worker want.

Check out our blog post “5 Things You Should Know about Wisconsin Divorce” for more info.  

Call divorce lawyer Christopher Glinski at (262) 632-1555.

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