Divorce can be a complex and difficult experience. Ending a marriage in Wisconsin requires a specific legal process.
Understanding the steps involved may help you navigate this challenging time.
Filing for divorce
The divorce process begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Divorce with the county circuit court. The person filing is the “petitioner,” while the other spouse is the “respondent.” The state mandates a 120-day waiting period between submitting divorce paperwork and having your case heard in court.
Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, which means that neither party needs to prove that the other is at fault for the marriage breakdown. The most common grounds for divorce cited in the state are “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.”
Seeking temporary orders
During the divorce process, either spouse may request temporary orders for child custody, child support, spousal support (alimony) and property division. These orders provide guidelines for the duration of the divorce proceedings.
Disclosing financial information
Both spouses must provide full disclosure of their financial information, including income, assets, debts and expenses. This information is vital for determining property division and support arrangements.
Negotiating a divorce agreement
Divorcing couples may attempt to negotiate a settlement agreement out of court. This legal document outlines the terms of the divorce, including child custody, support and property division. Mediation can facilitate these negotiations with the help of a neutral third party.
Attending the court hearing
If negotiations or mediation fail to produce an agreement, the case may proceed to court. Both parties present evidence and arguments related to custody, support, and property division.
Once the court has reviewed the evidence and heard arguments, it will issue a Final Judgment of Divorce. This document formally dissolves the marriage and outlines the agreed-upon terms of the divorce.
After the divorce becomes final, both parties are legally obligated to adhere to the terms outlined in the Final Judgment. They may be responsible for ongoing support payments, visitation schedules, and property transfers. Failure to follow court orders can result in legal consequences.