Ending a marriage requires several issues to be considered and settled in order to get Divorce /Legal Separation granted. The main Wisconsin divorce laws to be considered are who is seeking the divorce, assets, and children. There are more detailed issues to address, but initially you will address these issues to determine how you will proceed to the Marital Separation Agreement and final Divorce. These issues seem straight forward but as you undertake the divorce you quickly realize how complicated these issues become. Having representation can be critical to an expedited and positive outcome for all parties involved.
Decide how you will file divorce. Will you and your spouse be signing the Petition together, filing jointly, or will only one of you be completing the forms to start the action known as filing alone. Filing jointly is most expedited and usually means your issues are straight forward and mutually agreeable. Often times it starts this way but gets more complicated as you take on the issues to complete separation and eventual divorce. When one party is filing alone they become the Petitioner and the non-filing party becomes the Respondent. By nature of the action the sides end up in an adversarial position.
Your Marital Community Property includes your assets in addition to your personal property. Personal property requires deciding who brought what to a marriage and who gets what leaving a marriage. Assets also need to be divided. Property and automobiles seem most obvious but they often include debt associated with each that needs to be addressed. Investments such as retirement plans, savings, stocks, bonds, Certificates of Deposit, insurance policies, and savings for children’s education also must be addressed and split or liquidated to satisfy the separation.
Assets and children are complicated and unless agreed upon the issues often lead to the necessity of a Temporary Hearing to address Wisconsin Child Custody, Wisconsin Child Support, and Wisconsin Child Support Payments. Additionally the use of the residence, automobiles, personal property may need to be determined while working toward Divorce. Payment of bills along with maintenance or spousal support need to be addressed by each party. Completing a Temporary Hearing requires filings and a hearing to get the Temporary Order.
Wisconsin divorce laws also requires a 120-day waiting period prior to the final hearing. The court will approve a Marital Separation Agreement at the final hearing when all issues have been addressed and decided. At this point Divorce / Legal Separation is granted upon completion of all documents required. Wisconsin divorce laws may have slightly different requirements based on each County’s specific laws and practices.