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.
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.
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.
- Summons and Petition for Divorce: 90 days from the date the petition was filed
- Order to Show Cause and Affidavit: 5 days before trial
- Response and Counterclaim: 20 days after the date of service; can be mailed to the courthouse.
- 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
- Notice of Motion and Motion: 5 days before the trial
- Petition to Enforce Placement: 5 days before the trial
Have You 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.
The experienced attorneys at Divergent Family Law are ready to represent your best interest in the divorce process. We will advise you through all stages and issues that arise during a divorce including:
- Filing a petition
- Serving Papers
- Temporary orders
- Courtroom trial
- Child custody and placement
- Child support
- Spousal support
Contact Divergent Family Law today for more information.