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How To File For Divorce In Wisconsin


Filing for divorce in Wisconsin isn’t easy. We understand that divorce is one of the most difficult times in many people’s lives, and unfortunately, it can be very confusing. You might not be sure where to begin with your proceedings, making it more difficult to file, but we’re here to help.

If you’re struggling with your case, the divorce attorneys at Karp & Iancu are here to lend a hand. With experience in thousands of cases, we’ll help you file and get the fair division of assets you deserve.

It’s Free & Confidential

In the meantime, read through the guide below outlining how the divorce process in Wisconsin works.

1. Types Of Divorce

Understanding the types of divorce and choosing the one best for your situation is a crucial first step. When you’re seeking to end a marriage, there are multiple options. These include contested divorce, uncontested divorce, collaborative & cooperative divorce, and mediated divorce. While not technically a type of divorce, legal separation is also an option for Wisconsin couples looking to end their marriage.

Learn more about the types of divorce available to married Wisconsin couples.

2. Draft, File and Serve the Papers

Either you or your spouse will draft, file, and serve the divorce papers. The initial papers are drafted by our team within one day of retaining us. Since you’ll be able to sign these papers electronically, we can typically have the divorce papers filed with the Wisconsin court system within 48 hours of retaining us. After the papers are filed with the court system, we’ll discuss your options for the service of the divorce papers to your spouse.
Learn more about drafting, filing and serving divorce papers in Wisconsin here.

3. Obtain Temporary Orders

In some divorce cases, most commonly contested divorce, temporary orders are needed. They’ll help guide financial and custody disputes throughout the divorce process. When a temporary order motion is filed, a hearing will be held within 30 to 45 days; depending on which Wisconsin county your divorce case is in.

Another option, most common in uncontested divorce, collaborative & cooperative divorce, and mediated divorce cases, temporary agreements (or temporary stipulations) can be signed by both spouses to avoid a hearing in court.

Learn more about obtaining temporary orders and agreements here.

4. Financial Discovery

A crucial step in all divorce cases is the exchange of all financial information between both parties; including income, assets, debts, and liabilities. In some cases, one spouse may be resistant to providing this information and a formal financial discovery is needed.

Learn more about the financial discovery phase here.

5. Negotiation of Final Settlement

Sometimes, in non-complex cases, an informal offer followed by a counter offer will suffice to reach a divorce settlement. This type of negotiation often takes place over phone or email.

In more tedious divorce cases where the issues are more numerous or complex, settlement conferences may be needed. This type of negotiation takes place in-person and involves both spouses and their attorneys.
Learn more about negotiations and final divorce settlements here.

6. Divorce Resolution

Mediation

In mediated divorce cases, a settlement agreement through mediation can work. While mediation isn’t legally binding, the conversations are confidential and inadmissible in court if the case makes it there. Divorce negotiations via mediation involve a mutual third party attorney, a mediator and both spouses.

Arbitration

In collaborative, cooperative, and uncontested divorce cases, arbitration can be a means to a final divorce settlement. While arbitration is very similar to mediation, the results are legally binding. Typically arbitration is less onerous and less expensive than divorce settlements reached through trial.

Trial

In complex and contested divorce cases, trial may be necessary. A typical length of a divorce trial ranges from 1 to 3 days, and a randomly assigned county judge will decide the final settlement. Like arbitration, the results of a divorce trial are legally binding.

Learn more about divorce resolution via mediation, arbitration or trial here.

Cost of Divorce

The final cost of a divorce is dependent on the complexity of the case and the means of resolution. With this in mind, we offer  two types of fee structures. Learn more about those fee structures here.

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Wisconsin Divorce FAQs

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Wisconsin?

Filing fees for divorce vary by county, and may vary from case to case. Typically, the cost of filing for divorce in Wisconsin is around $200.00. These charges are paid to the county clerk and are separate from other costs in the divorce case.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin?

After the divorce papers have been drafted, filed, and served, there is a mandatory 120-day waiting period for divorce finalization in the state of Wisconsin. During this waiting period, discovery of assets, liabilities, debts, and income are analyzed in order to draft a fair Settlement Agreement. If you have kids, you’ll likely be drafting a parenting plan at this time and working toward resolution of custody and placement of the children.

What papers do I need to file for divorce in Wisconsin?

You may need to file the following documents to file for Divorce in Wisconsin: Summons and Petition for Divorce, Confidential Petition Addendum and potentially an Order to Show Cause for Temporary Orders. An attorney can help figure out which forms are necessary in your particular case.

View/print self-service Wisconsin divorce forms here.

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Milwaukee/Tosa – 933 N Mayfair Rd, Suite 300, Milwaukee, WI 53226

(414) 928-2861

Fox Point (by Appt) – 8651 N. Port Washington Rd. Suite A, Fox Point, WI 53217

(414) 240-1835

Downtown Milwaukee (by Appt) – 1433 N Water St, Floor 4 – Suite 428, Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 485-0191

Menomonee Falls (by Appt) – 11414 W Park Pl – Suite 202, Milwaukee, WI 53224

(414) 310-7075

Brookfield (by appt) – 200 S. Executive Drive, Suite 101, Brookfield, WI 53005

(262) 244-5109

Waukesha (by appt) – N19 W24400 Riverwood Dr Suite 350, Waukesha, WI 53188

(262) 226-4323
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