The Real Cost of DivorceIn Wisconsin
The average cost of a divorce in Wisconsin is $11,300, including filing and attorney fees. If the parties have minor children together, the cost can increase to $17,000-$30,000 depending on child placement, child support, alimony, and property division disputes. Families with high incomes or undergoing business asset division may even exceed $100,000 in costs. The main factors that increase Wisconsin divorce costs are:
- Minor children—often a child placement, custody or support dispute
- One spouse has a significantly higher income
- Disagreement on division of property and assets
- You and your spouse own or run a business together
- A spouse began attending college during the marriage and they are in the middle of obtaining a degree
- One spouse is moving to a different state and you have minor children together
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Wisconsin Divorce Cost FAQs
How much is a divorce in Wisconsin?
The average divorce cost in Wisconsin is $11,300, including filing and attorney fees. In reality, actual divorce prices vary depending on a variety of factors ranging from the simplicity/complexity of the divorce to the quality of attorney you want to hire. If the parties are agreeable and no issues arise, the divorce cost could be as little as $3,500. If children are involved, the cost can increase to $17,000-$30,000 depending on child placement, child support, alimony, and property division disputes. The cost for divorce when dealing with high-income families or business asset division can even exceed $30,000.
How much does it cost to file for divorce in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin divorce filing fees vary by county, but the cost of filing for divorce
is typically around $200. For example, the Milwaukee County divorce filing fee ranges from $188 to $198 depending on the type of action. In cases involving minor children, it is also common for the courts to require a study about legal custody and physical placement of the children. In Milwaukee, the study costs $300.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin?
The amount of time a divorce takes depends on the type of divorce and the number of contested issues between spouses. The average time it takes to get a divorce finalized in Wisconsin is one year. This includes a 120-day waiting period after service of divorce papers
or after the joint petition has been filed with the court. See all the steps of a divorce in Wisconsin
for more information.
How much does a mutual divorce cost in Wisconsin?
A mutual divorce or uncontested divorce
is when both parties agree on all terms before entering the courtroom, and it is the quickest and easiest form of divorce. Commonly, the mutual divorce cost will range from $3,500 to $25,000, depending on the number and complexity of issues to be presented to the judge.
Can you get a divorce without a lawyer in Wisconsin?
A “pro se divorce” which literally means “divorce for oneself” is when a person represents themselves in lieu of a lawyer. A pro se divorce is possible in Wisconsin, but typically only when the spouses agree on every issue concerning the divorce including child support
and child custody
. Other issues that have to be agreed upon to forego traditional divorce lawyers include asset division and alimony. If there are any issues of contentions between parties, divorce mediation
is an alternative option for spouses willing to cooperate.
Does it matter who files for divorce first in Wisconsin?
Filing for divorce
first has no real benefit in most cases according to attorneys, but occasionally can make a difference. Spouses who plan in advance and select a quality Wisconsin lawyer first have had more time to mentally and emotionally prepare for the divorce process. Filing first also gives you more time to organize your finances and plan for covering the cost of your Wisconsin divorce
How do I start a divorce proceeding in Wisconsin?
To start a divorce proceeding in Wisconsin, you must be a resident of the state of Wisconsin for at least 6 months. You also have to be a resident of your county for 1 month before filing. If you decide to file for divorce
alone, you need to serve your spouse divorce papers and submit proof that papers have been served to the court. Once you have filed, there is a mandatory 120-day waiting period.
How much does it cost to serve divorce papers?
Depending on whether you have a private process server or the local police department serve the papers, you could expect to pay anywhere from $50-$200.
What Impacts the Cost of Divorce in Wisconsin?
The cost of divorce is heavily influenced by shared assets. What you and your spouse own needs to be split fairly—not evenly. Certain factors increase the risk of a high-cost divorce, including:
SPOUSAL SUPPORT OR ALIMONY DISPUTES
If you’re exiting a long marriage with a high standard of living, your case is a high risk divorce. There will be a fight, and you will need an attorney. Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Wisconsin) means that your long term financial outlay could be dramatic.
CHILD CUSTODY - 1 CHILD (PRIMARY PHYSICAL PLACEMENT)
If you and your partner have children together, getting a divorce will likely be more expensive. The living arrangement of the child will determine primary physical placement and impact child support payments. Wisconsin child support for one child is 17% of your gross income. If your salary is more than $39,000 per year 45% of your paycheck will go to income tax and child support.
CHILD CUSTODY- MULTIPLE CHILDREN
- Additional children are calculated on the remainder:
- 2 children - 25% of gross income
- 3 children - 29% of gross income
- 4 children - 31% of gross income
- 5 or more children - 34% of gross income
PROPERTY & ASSET DIVISION
Shared real estate, retirement funds, savings and other assets can cause a problem for divorce budgets. These divorces usually end up going to trial, where financial analysis is often required. An attorney experienced in high net worth divorce is adept at navigating the costly process while keeping your assets intact.
What about Pro- Se Divorce?
Even if you and your partner come up with an agreement on your own, the court reserves the right to reject it — putting you back at square one. For most people, the risks of divorce without a lawyer vastly outweigh the costs of attorney’s fees. If financing is likely to be an issue consider payment plans or look into limited scope representation.
Minimizing your emotional & financial losses
Even in what starts as a mutually agreeable divorce, frustration and unfair rulings can quickly turn the proceedings sour. On top of the financial burden of divorce, drawn-out, highly emotional proceedings can take a toll on your mental health. Anxiety, frustration and anger compound the financial cost of divorce, making it difficult to cope with the process.
Our in-depth understanding of divorce proceedings means our lawyers can tell you up front with considerable accuracy the details of your divorce decree. We know Wisconsin divorce law, we know the adjudicators, and we know your rights.
Contact Divergent for a free, no-obligation consultation on your divorce.