Provision of Legal Separation in the State of Wisconsin

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Wisconsin is the state which recognizes the provision for legal separation. The process of legal separation is similar to the divorce process in the state of Wisconsin. The only difference between divorce and legal separation is that a divorce decree terminates a marriage and a decree of legal separation declares the husband and wife as legally separated though they are technically married.

The state of Wisconsin recognizes the documentation for legal separation and thus, it can be easily obtained in lieu of divorce. However, it is reversible and the option of reconciliation always remains open. The couple cannot remarry unless they get a divorce.

Grounds for Legal Separation in Wisconsin:

The only ground for legal separation in Wisconsin is “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” as it is a no-fault divorce state. Thus, a couple can file for legal separation in the state of Wisconsin without having to state the reasons for doing so.

The residency requirement for filing for legal separation in Wisconsin is 30 days. At least, one of the spouses should be a resident of the state for 30 days before the couple can file for legal separation. Anyone can file for legal separation in the state of Wisconsin as long as they are the residents of the state for the specified period of time.

Reasons for Legal Separation in Wisconsin:

Many couples are opting for legal separation instead of divorce these days. There are many reasons why the couples go for legal separation in lieu of divorce. These reasons are as follows:

  • Financial Matters – The couples who have been married for a long time and have children and a considerable amount of property together opt for legal separation over divorce. The pension plans, investments, retirement plans, mutual assets and property all need to be taken care of which is easier in a legal separation than a divorce. Besides, these arrangements help the couple protect their property until they get a divorce. However, one needs to be careful while signing any financial documents while the couple is legally separated so as to protect the assets until the divorce is finalized.
  • Health Insurance – In case of the couple nearing the retirement age, the insurance coverage is very important. It covers the life of the couple until their death. If the couple is technically married, the husband and the wife are legally entitled to claim the insurance coverage on each other's policies. The couple nearing the retirement age might need extraordinary medical care or all the coverage they need in an event of a life-threatening disease such as cancer or tumor. Besides these, the dental insurance, the insurance for regular check up and other benefits can be availed on each other's policies.
  • Religious Reasons – For the couples, who belong to the religion which frowns upon the concept of divorce, legal separation is an ideal option. By attaining legal separation, the couple is neither stuck in an unwanted marriage just for the sake of religion neither are they divorced; so as, to be denounced by the religious authority to which they are affiliated to. Legal separation is a golden mean between an unwanted marriage and a bitter divorce. By obtaining legal separation, the couple stays technically married but can lead their own separate lives by being legally separated.
  • Residency Requirement – The residency requirement which is needed strictly for divorce lawsuit is not necessary for a legal separation case. The residency requirement for filing a divorce petition is six months in the state and 30 days in a county. However, for legal separation, 30 days in the state is enough to file a petition. The couples who want a quick separation often go for legal separation due to the flexibility of this residency requirement. Besides, only one of the spouses should be a resident of the state to be eligible to file for a legal separation.
  • Reconciliation – In the state of Wisconsin, legal separation is reversible. The option of reconciliation always remains open to the couple which is legally separated. It acts as a trial separation in many cases where the couple gets a time of 90 days to reflect on the causes and consequences of their separation. However, after 90 days, the separation decree is issued and the couple has to file for discarding the decree if they decide to reconcile.
If the couple decides to reconcile, the arrangements regarding the marital issues discarded and the couple is returned to their pre-separation status. The couple cannot remarry once they are legally separated. For filing the suit of legal separation, the couple must be staying separate and apart for at least one year before the date of filing the petition. The same issues are addressed in a legal separation as a divorce process and the separation agreement is signed by both the parties and approved by the court.

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