WI Divorce Guide

How to File for Divorce in Wisconsin

  1. Pick the Correct Forms

    Evaluate these questions before beginning the filing process: Are there minor children involved? Are you filing independently or jointly? Will you need temporary orders while the divorce is pending?

    The most common forms you need to complete are the Summons, Petition & Confidential Addendum. The presence of minor children in a marriage will require additional forms.

  2. Complete the Forms

    Gather the necessary information for both you and your spouse. Birth dates, social security numbers, and addresses are required.

  3. File the Papers at Your Local Courthouse

    Contact your local county clerk’s office for the filing fees. Fees range from $175 - $188.

  4. Serve Your Spouse (if filing separately)

    Serve the divorce paperwork and obtain proof of service. You can use the sheriff’s department or a private service company to serve your spouse.  Obtain a signed Affidavit of Service or Admission of Service from your spouse. Begin preparing for the temporary hearing.

  5. Wait 120 Days Minimum

    Mandatory 120 day waiting period begins after service has been accomplished or the joint petition has been filed with the court.  If you were just served divorce papers in Wisconsin, you have 20 days to respond.

  6. Attend Temporary Hearing (if requested previously)

    Both parties are required to complete a Financial Disclosure Statement and bring it to the hearing. A commissioner or judge will hear each side's requests and then decide temporary orders. Temporary orders must be followed until the final divorce settlement. If you are unhappy with the outcome, you have 10 days to file an appeal of the commissioner's decision. A judge would then review the orders and make a final decision. 

  7. Prepare for Pre-Trial Conference

    You and your spouse will receive a Notice of Pre-Trial Conference and a Pre-Trial Order. Parents of minors are required to complete the Helping Children Cope with Divorce seminar before the court date. If you and your spouse have resolved all issues, the court can proceed with a stipulated divorce. If you still have outstanding issues, you must notify the court of the specific issues. If child custody or placement is an issue, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem to determine the child/children's best interest.

  8. Complete the Divorce or Legal Separation

    A divorce can be granted three ways: stipulated, default, or in a trial:

    • Stipulated hearing: Both parties agree on the terms of the divorce. The judge decides to approve or adjust the settlement.
    • Default hearing: One party fails to appear at the final hearing. The judge will use the other party's proposal when approving the settlement.

    • Trial hearing: The parties cannot come to an agreement. A courtroom trial will take place. The judge will give a final divorce decree. If you are unsatisfied with the final hearing, you have the option to appeal the divorce decree.

Our Milwaukee Family Law attorneys have years of experience in each step of the divorce timeline, allowing you to rest assured knowing your assets (and your heart) are in safe hands. Our attorneys have seen every circumstance that can arise in Wisconsin divorce law

Contact Divergent Family Law today to schedule your free initial consultation.
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Wisconsin Family Law & Divorce Attorneys:
Family Law Attorney Trisha Festerling
Trisha FesterlingAttorney
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Joseph KennedyAttorney
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Kaitlin GrasswickAttorney
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Tom GrieveAttorney
Divergent Family Law Attorney Madeline Bitto
Madeline Bitto Attorney
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Adam KachelskiAttorney
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Corey MontihoAttorney
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