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Navigating the Divorce Process in Wisconsin

Separation and divorce can be very difficult processes, especially for married parents with minor children. Even if you are in agreement with your spouse, there are several complications which can be navigated smoothly with legal guidance.

Let's begin with an overview of the process in Wisconsin, including how long you may have to wait for the process to be completed.

Married people in Wisconsin may file for divorce alone or jointly. The petition must be signed by both parties if the couple is filing jointly. One party must have the other informed by court documents if he or she is filing alone.

If spouses disagree about the custody of children and/or resources, how to pay bills or how to divide property, either spouse may request a temporary hearing with an order to show cause. The orders describe the disagreement and are accompanied by sworn affidavits signed by the parties.

The petition for divorce and any summons required to complete the final hearing must be filed with the Clerk of Circuit Courts, and accompanied by filing fees. Wisconsin state law requires a 120-day waiting period before the divorce is finalized.

If spouses share responsibility for minor children, the county may require a parenting plan to be executed to protect the children's well-being. Parenting programs, which train parents for the effects of divorce on their children, may also be required or recommended.

Although the process of divorce can cause practical and emotional challenges, you are not alone if your rights are protected by legal counsel, who can assist you with any agreements or required documents.

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