Wisconsin Divorce Steps

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A Wisconsin is a state where many types of divorces are allowed. Generally, a divorce is defined as the "dissolution of marriage proceeding" in legal books. The term itself explains the meaning of a divorce between two partners. It is the separation between the partners for the whole life onwards. There are many reasons for which such dissolution is requested in the court. But, as divorce is a legally bound process, it should be ensured that all requirements are fulfilled within the stipulated time period.

The primary requirement of any state regarding divorce is that of residency. Every state will have its rules regarding the compulsory residency period. For Wisconsin, such period is of six months. Further, a person has to be a resident of the county for at least one month before filing a divorce case in that particular county court. The other steps for divorce in Wisconsin are as follows:

Initiation of Wisconsin Divorce Steps

The divorce steps in this state begin when one of the divorcing partners files the following documents with a court clerk.

  • A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: This contains the fundamental information regarding the divorcing partners and their children, asset information and a request for relief
  • A Summons: This is an indication that the divorce is being filed

The divorcing partner who files these documents, is known as the Petitioner. The other divorcing partner is the Respondent. The Petitioner has an advantage regarding selection of the county where to file the divorce action.

In a Pro Se divorce, both the partners may sign and file a Joint Petition for divorce.

From the date of filing of the documents, when a period of 120 days elapses, only then a final hearing can take place. Depending on how complex the case is, the total duration of the case is decided. Although, the divorce is finalized, duration of minimum 6 months must pass by, after which the divorced partners are free to remarry.

Wisconsin Divorce Steps regarding Temporary Hearings

Any of the divorcing partners has the right to schedule a temporary hearing to find a solution to urgent issues on a temporary basis. Some of the topics discussed during a temporary hearing are as follows:

  • Payment of debt
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child support
  • Physical placement
  • Custody

The orders that are issued during a temporary hearing remain in force till the finalization of the divorce. After the temporary orders have been issued, if there are alterations in circumstances, these orders can be reviewed. These orders come into effect immediately after the date of issue.

A divorcing partner must file and serve the following documents to initiate a temporary hearing.

  • An Affidavit for Temporary Relief: This document comprises of the facts that are essential for the partner to endorse his or her request for relief. The requested temporary relief may be related to spousal maintenance, division of debts and assets, maintenance, child support, visitation, child custody and placement

  • An Order to Show Cause or a Motion for Temporary Relief: This document intimates the other partner of the time and date of the temporary hearing. The document also coerces the appearance of the other partner at the hearing

  • A Family Court Commissioner is basically an assistant judge who is given an authority identical to a judge regarding issue of temporary orders. This Commissioner presides a temporary hearing

    The Commissioner demands a completed financial statement of both partners at the temporary hearing. These documents should contain every partner's income, liabilities and assets

  • The divorcing partners are free to present any document or information that is relevant to the issue being discussed in the hearing As per law, the court should not take into account the temporary orders while making a final ruling at the final hearing

  • Practically, the judge tries to maintain the status quo of the temporary orders while issuing the final orders. So, the partner, who is given favorable temporary orders, is at an advantage during the final hearing

Wisconsin divorce steps related to the property distribution

Wisconsin is a "community property" state. That means the state laws give preference to the equal distribution of marital property earned by both spouses. The personal property is regarded as the separate property and thus, is excluded from the marital property. While the hearing of the case of property distribution, many factors are taken into consideration. Some of them are as follows:

  • The duration of marriage
  • The level of education of both partners and future prospects
  • The age and health of each of them
  • The marital and other responsibilities

Thus, this is the brief outline of the divorce steps in Wisconsin. The uncontested divorce is preferred in most of the cases as the divorce steps for this kind of termination of marriage are quite simpler and cheaper than that of regular dissolution.

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