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Divorce in Wisconsin

The decision to get divorced is rarely easy to make. You have likely experienced a substantial amount of stress and frustration already. Now that you are ready to move forward, you want to find the fastest and least expensive way of getting divorced. Fortunately, the state of Wisconsin makes getting divorce fairly straightforward, particularly if you and your spouse are seeking an uncontested divorce – one where you agree on all important issues like property division and child custody (if you have children). You may even qualify to complete your divorce without a lawyer. In this instance, the process can be started simply by filling out the required divorce papers for Wisconsin and submitting them to the county clerk.

Many people in Wisconsin choose to use the online services of CompleteCase.com to make the process even simpler. We provide you with the exact forms needed for your situation so you know you know you are submitting the correct forms from the start.

If you and your spouse are having trouble reaching decisions on issues like child custody or property division, you may benefit from the services of a divorce mediator. Mediation in Wisconsin allows you to meet with a professional mediator to come to terms you can both be satisfied with. In the event that mediation is not a good option, you may want to hire a divorce attorney.

The following information will help you to understand divorce in Wisconsin, and how to begin your own divorce.

Wisconsin Divorce Facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in Wisconsin in 2011 was 2.9 for every 1,000 residents. Wisconsin has a relatively low divorce rate, compared to other states in the U.S.

Wisconsin only permits no-fault divorces. In a no-fault divorce, you do not need to place blame on one part for the divorce. You only need to state that there are “irreconcilable differences”. Most people prefer no-fault divorces, as they are usually faster and less expensive than a divorce where you must prove fault.

The residency requirement for getting divorced in Wisconsin is six months. You can file in the state if you or your spouse meets this requirement. You or your spouse also need to be a resident of the county where you are going to file for three months.

Wisconsin Divorce Papers and Forms

The specific divorce papers that you fill out  for Wisconsin will depend on your individual circumstances – like if you and your spouse have minor children together – and may also depend on the county you are filing in. It is recommended that you contact the county clerk where you will be filing to verify that you are completing all required documents before you attempt to file.

Some of the common forms completed for a Wisconsin divorce include a “Summons”, “Petition for Divorce” and an “Affidavit of Service”. You can find a wide range of divorce forms on the Wisconsin Courts website. The state also has a self-help section where you can get some assistance with your family law forms. Wisconsin also provides a “Basic Guide to Divorce/Legal Separation”, where you can read over the different components in the divorce process.

It is always a good idea to read as much information as you can on divorce before you file. The more you understand the process and your rights, the better you can protect yourself and your interests.

If you find the number of forms and the legal terms confusing, understand that this is normal. Without prior legal training you may have difficulty determining which forms you should fill out, or how to fill them out correctly. This is why many people choose to get their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com. With CompleteCase.com, you know you are filling out the appropriate forms for your circumstances. You can avoid unnecessary delays or costs by submitting the correct forms filled out accurately from the beginning.

How to File Divorce Papers in Wisconsin

When you are finished completing your divorce papers you will need to print two copies. You will file one set with the court, serve one set to your spouse and keep the last set of documents for your records. Avoid signing any statements or affidavits until you are in front of a notary public. Some courts provide a notary service when you file, but you should verify this before you go to the courthouse. Contacting the county clerk before you go file is a good idea in general, as you can make sure you are bringing everything you need, including a form of payment accepted by the court. If you do not want to pay the state filing fee you will need to request a waiver. If the court accepts your request you will be able to file without paying anything.

When you have filed and fee considered paid, the clerk will stamp your documents.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in Wisconsin

To complete the filing process you will need to serve copies of the divorce papers to your spouse. It is best to serve your spouse as soon as you have filed. If your spouse has hired a lawyer, you will need to serve the papers to the lawyer.

If you and your spouse are on good terms you can deliver the papers personally and get him or her to sign an “Admission of Service”. The admission form verifies that the papers were served, so you will need to file it with the court.

If you do not want to serve your spouse personally, you can have a friend or family member who is over 18 do it (as long as it is not someone involved in the divorce). You can also hire a sheriff or a private process server to deliver the papers. These will charge a fee. When the documents have been delivered, the third party will need to give you a form verifying the service, which you will file with the court.

Wisconsin has a mandatory 120 waiting period that will begin after all forms have been filed. As long as you and your spouse agree on everything, you can expect the court to dissolve the marriage after the waiting period is up. If you need to argue your case to the court, it may take quite a bit longer to finalize the divorce.

Do you qualify for an online divorce?

Do you know the location of your spouse?
Is your spouse in agreement regarding this divorce and willing to sign the divorce papers with you?
Do you and your spouse have any children under the age of 18 from this marriage?