Getting a Divorce in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you do not need a legal reason to get a divorce. Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state and the only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along and the marriage is irretrievably broken.

  • You must have lived in Wisconsin for at least six months prior to filing for divorce and your divorce must be filed in the county in which one of you lives.
  • To start the divorce process, you will need to file a petition for divorce and typically request a temporary order, which will establish a visitation schedule, set support amounts, determine who stays in the marital home and divide the obligation to pay bills between the spouses while the divorce is ongoing.
  • The non-filing spouse must be personally served with the divorce papers. This is not something you need to do yourself. Our divorce lawyers will hire a process server to do this for you.
  • Once the petition and other initial documents have been served on your spouse, he or she will have a specific period to respond and will need to appear in court for the temporary hearing.
  • If children are involved, the court will usually appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) whose role is to represent the best interests of the children, as determined by the GAL through investigation, in the court proceedings.
  • After the petition is filed, the court will set the date for a default judgment. This is the first date that you could get a final judgment of divorce. The date will be at least 120 days from the date you filed. If things proceed smoothly, you will be divorced by that date. Divorces typically take longer than 120 days to go to final hearing.

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For experienced counsel in family law matters, call our firm’s offices at 866-381-4391 to schedule an appointment with our attorneys. If you prefer, use our online form to tell us about your matter. We have convenient law offices in Oshkosh, Madison and Milwaukee.