What are the requirements to file for divorce in Wisconsin?

While you’d think that anyone would be able to file a divorce petition to end their marriage if they wanted to, Wisconsin and every other state in the country has specific requirements that you must meet to do so.

One of the first requirements that you have to meet to file for divorce in Wisconsin is to prove that either you or your spouse have been actual residents in the state for the past six months before your filing.

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. This means that neither spouse has to prove that their husband or wife did anything wrong to be able to file to end their marriage. The state automatically assumes that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” when you file for divorce. This simply means that you two have tried and failed to make things work and that there’s nothing else that you can do to repair it.

You shouldn’t assume that you’ll be allowed to move forward with your divorce just because you believe that it’s irretrievably broken. This is something to which both of you must agree for you to be allowed to proceed to end your marriage.

State law allows judges to order couples who have been separated for less than 12 months to attend counseling. The court may only agree to hear the divorce case 30-60 days after the couple has been to therapy.

There are some alternatives to divorce that exist in Wisconsin. Couples may file for a legal separation or an annulment. A change in your legal status may allow you and your spouse to work out temporary child visitation and support agreements, as well as some preliminary property matters.

It may be hard to accept the reality that your marriage is over. You may be purposely putting off a meeting with a lawyer in hopes that you can work things out. This isn’t a good idea though. It’s most beneficial if you meet with a family law attorney in Oshkosh early on when you’re first discussing divorce. This will give you the best chance of a favorable outcome in your case.