Serving Papers

3 Ways to Serve Divorce Papers in Wisconsin

There are 3 main methods service can be accomplished in Wisconsin:


Admission of Service:

The court documents are personally delivered to your spouse, by a legal adult. The spouse must sign and date the Admission of Service paper to verify that the petition was actually received. If the spouse does not agree to sign, another form of service must occur.


Service by the Sheriff's Department or a Private Process Server:

For a fee, you can have a Sheriff or hire a professional process server to serve your divorce petition. The person who served the petitioner will fill out a proof of service form which will then need to be filed with the court.


By Publication:

The first two methods require knowledge of the opposing party’s location and address. If you have exhausted all efforts to locate the opposing party, the court will accept service by publication. The method involves announcing the divorce petition in a local newspaper where your spouse is likely to be living. A copy of the newspaper notice and an indication for how long the notice ran will need to be filed with the court for proof of service.

Divorce in Wisconsin
Need a clean break? It's time to serve.

Time Limits

for Serving Divorce Papers

Depending on the form or action, service will need to be accomplished by varying numbers of days before the trial. The time limitations for the most common forms and actions are listed below.

  1. Summons and Petition for Divorce: 90 days from the date the petition was filed
  2. Order to Show Cause and Affidavit: 5 days before trial
  3. Response and Counterclaim: 20 days after the date of service; can be mailed to the courthouse.
  4. Order to Appear: 24 hours if the other party lives in the same county; otherwise 72 hours if they live in a different Wisconsin county from the one the action was filed
  5. Notice of Motion and Motion: 5 days before the trial
  6. Petition to Enforce Placement: 5 days before the trial

Been Served

Divorce Papers

If you were recently served divorce papers in Wisconsin, you only have 20 days to respond! You need to act fast and get ahead of the process by consulting with one of our experienced family law attorneys.

Regardless of how the service is accomplished, the main thing is that it actually is accomplished. Without proof of service, a case has no standing in court. If you were the one served, you have 20 days from the date you were served to file a written Admission of Service, a Response, and a Counterclaim. Failing to do so can leave you open to the possibility of the court entering a default judgment against you.


Easy Mistakes People Make On Divorce Paperwork

Family Law In Wisconsin

A divorce is very heavy with paperwork. It can be very tedious and sometimes even tricky to fill out. Not having a legal background can make it all that much harder, not knowing the legal consequences the paperwork may have. It is very common that people make mistakes that cause the divorce process to drag out or even simply not be filed properly. That’s why we recommend you use one of out skilled divorce lawyers to guide you through the process.

Below are some of the most common mistakes family law attorneys see:

Mistakes people make on divorce paperwork in Wisconsin

Filing for divorce and filing out the paperwork can be time intensive and stressful, especially during this hard point in your life. One way to resolve that stress is to hire one of our experienced family law attorneys. An attorney can help you navigate through the divorce process and take the stress off your shoulders and know it is getting done right.

Schedule a consultation with a family lawyer from Divergent Family Law today.

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