Overview of Divorce in Wisconsin

In matters as complicated as divorce, you are bound to have plenty of questions. The following questions and answers apply specifically to divorce law in Wisconsin; so if you live in another state these facts may not apply as the law for each state varies.

How do I begin the process of divorce?

The first thing you will need to do in order to file for divorce in Wisconsin is to file a Summons and Petition for divorce. Your spouse must have this summons served to him, or her, within 60 days after the petition has been filed. You may ask the judge to extend the duration of this period if need be; it is not guaranteed though.

What if I’m served a divorce summons?

If you are served a summons for divorce in Wisconsin, then you need to file a written response or counterclaim within the first 20 days after you are served. This will be sent to the court, and a copy must also be sent to your spouse and his or her attorney. If you want the divorce, then you simply need to file a counterclaim for divorce, this way your spouse will not be able to change his or her mind.

What if I don’t want the divorce?

If you don’t want the divorce, in Wisconsin there is the no fault law. This means that the only grounds for divorce are irretrievable breakdown or inability to repair the marriage. What this means is that if only one of you decides that the marriage is unable to be fixed, divorce can be granted. Your spouse will have to prove in court that saving the marriage is impossible though.

How long will the whole process of divorce take?

If you are looking for a ‘quickie’ divorce, you may be disappointed to find out that most divorces take 6 months to finalize. There is also a 120 day waiting period in Wisconsin that will keep your divorce from being finalized. Divorce in Wisconsin always goes by faster when it is an uncontested divorce, so keep that in mind.

What if I don’t agree with the court’s decision?

After the first or temporary hearing, if you are unhappy with the findings of the court, then you may request a Hearing De Novo. This is a hearing where the judge will act as though it is the first time hearing the case and will attempt to give you a new hearing. There is no guarantee that he or she will rule differently though.

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