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Divorce in Wisconsin
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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.

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
  • Name Inconsistencies

    Using the correct name on your paperwork may seem like a mistake that just would not happen, but divorce documents can be rejected or required to amend if there the names are not consistent on each of the many documents. For example, on one document you may use first, middle, and last name but the next document, you only use the middle initial. It is very important to keep consistent with names on each document to avoid any mishaps.

  • Checking the Wrong Boxes

    When using the state forms, there are a number of different boxes that you will have to check on the paperwork. If one is not paying close enough attention, the wrong box could be checked. If that occurs, you may be potentially waiving your right to something or checking something that will cause the divorce to be rejected.

  • Failing to Disclose All Assets and Debts

    In Wisconsin, parties must disclose all of their assets, debts, and liabilities. If things are left out, this can leave exposure to the case being reopened after the divorce is finalized or being responsible for debt that you didn’t list as martial.

  • Using the Wrong Address

    Using updated addresses on the paperwork is very important. If you list the marital residence but you are not currently living there, all the paperwork will be sent to your spouse, not you. If you move out mid-divorce, be sure to write a letter to the court updating your address to ensure you keep up to date on all the court documents.

  • Untimely Failing

    If you have been served divorce papers, you only have 20 days to file a counterclaim against the party. While this is not required, it does help secure certain rights that you may have in the divorce process. Pay attention to deadlines and don’t miss them!

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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