$10,000 - 15,000 (average cost)
In Wisconsin, a typical divorce can cost as little as $3000 – $5000, however, the average cost of a simple Wisconsin divorce is $10,000 – $15,000. Learn how to minimize the cost of divorce below.
Questions answered in this article:
Can I get divorced without a lawyer? | Does it cost money to serve divorce papers in Wisconsin? | How much does it cost to file for divorce in Wisconsin? | How much should you expect to pay for an uncontested divorce? | How much should you expect to pay for a contested divorce? | What impacts the cost of divorce?
Legally reviewed for accuracy by Attorney Kelly Dodd
The information provided does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. Talk to a lawyer today for legal advice
One of the first concerns people have about a divorce is how much it will cost. Well-meaning friends and family offer their own cautionary tales about cost overruns, surprise fees, and exorbitant expenses. That is why Karp & Iancu offers five transparent divorce packages and provides the following helpful guidelines, so you know exactly what to expect.
*These amounts are per spouse if each spouse has an attorney.
We recognize that every case is different. Our law firm offers both traditional retainers and hourly rates as well as flat fee representation. We will discuss your options with you and present different pricing alternatives for you to choose from at the time of your consultation.
No one knows Wisconsin divorce law better. No one is more efficient.
Of course. You have a constitutional right to represent yourself in court, but you can also have a baby without an obstetrician. And just because you can, doesn’t mean you should! During a divorce (much as it is with childbirth) it is nice—especially when things go wrong—to have someone by your side who has been through the process hundreds of times and can take control of the situation to ensure you and your children emerge as quickly and as safely as possible. It is equally important that when you are feeling your worst and like nothing is going right—that you have someone who can reassure you it is perfectly natural to be in so much pain. And that everything is still okay.
Sometimes. If you and your spouse file a Joint Petition for divorce, it does not have to be “served” on anyone and there are no services costs involved. But if only one of you files for divorce, the Petition will have to be served on the other party. If the other party is cooperative, they can agree to pick-up the divorce papers from your lawyer’s office or consent to receive them via mail. Then all they must do is sign a receipt. This does not mean they agree with the divorce—merely that they received the Petition. In this instance, the only cost is the cost of a postage stamp.
But, if your spouse is not cooperative and will not accept the papers voluntarily, you will likely have to pay a process server (either a private business or the local Sheriff’s department) to serve the Petition. This can cost anywhere from $35 to more than $100 depending on how many times the process server has to attempt service.
If your spouse cannot be served either because they evade service or because their current whereabouts are unknown, you will have to publish the Petition in a special newspaper in the community of their last-known address. Publication can cost between $200 and $300 in addition to the foregoing service costs.
Everyone who initiates a divorce in Wisconsin must pay a filing fee to the county whether or not they are represented by an attorney. These fees defray the county’s administrative costs of handling your divorce file. The fees vary by county (and are slightly higher if your case will also involve child support or spousal support), but they are generally in the range of $200 to $300.
A typical uncontested divorce likely costs between $1,500 and $3,000.
A contested divorce can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or more.
Many things can impact the cost of a divorce. The good news is that most of these things are within your control.
Some things, however, can impact the cost of divorce that are not within your or your attorney’s control. Some of those things are:
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You have the right to represent yourself in a divorce matter, but there are risks to having yourself as a client.
First, you will be held to the same standard as attorneys when it comes to knowledge of the law, courtroom procedure, and ethics. And while the court may give you some leniency as you learn, it cannot give you any help. The court cannot give you legal advice or direction about how to manage or present your case. And while it is unethical for attorneys to take advantage of an unrepresented party, they are not obligated to point-out your mistakes or make things easy for you. Therefore, if your spouse is represented by counsel and you are not, you will have to be extra savvy.
Second, if you and your spouse are both pro se, you risk overlooking important legal issues or procedures that attorneys typically handle and that you have no idea need to be accomplished. For example, even if you and your spouse agree to divide your pension equally—you can’t just leave it at that. There are special court orders required for the division of a pension that must be drafted by an attorney or by experienced firms that exist solely for that purpose. You also may not have a good understanding of what your pension administrator requires in order to accomplish the division or what the consequences are if the pension order is not drafted as needed. This is only one example of the many nuances of a divorce decree that require specialized knowledge. As they say, “Don’t try this at home!”.
The best way to get the most time-efficient and cost-effective divorce possible is to hire an experienced lawyer who understands—and shares—your goal of leaving the marriage with the least upheaval possible.
To do this, think of your lawyer as a taxi driver. You jump in the back seat with a clear idea of where you want to go and a general idea of how to get there—but, then leave the driving to your lawyer because she has traveled these roads many times before. She knows where there are roadblocks (the court!) or where there are obstructions (opposing counsel!) and can navigate around those very efficiently. But if you want to shout orders and reroute her from the back seat—“Go left! No. Go right! No! Turn here!”—your lawyer will very often take your tortured path. But at that point, just be clear: You are likely to end up in a bad neighborhood, far away from your original destination, and the fare will be much, MUCH higher.
Because aside from an effective lawyer, the single most important factor that will determine your divorce costs is YOU. The more you listen to and cooperate with your lawyer, the faster you will get to the finish line while preserving your bottom line.
You can always take a look at our Frequently Asked Divorce Questions to get a better idea of what factors affect the divorce process. If you feel you are ready to file for divorce, reach out to our attorneys today by filling out the form below. After a brief discussion about the issues you’re facing, our divorce lawyers can give you an accurate and transparent estimate as to how much your divorce case will cost.
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