The decision to seek a divorce is never easy. Unfortunately, this already difficult process can become even more heartbreaking when you realize how complicated it can be to get a divorce. Each state has its own unique set of divorce laws, and Wisconsin is no exception.
If you are currently a resident of Wisconsin and are seeking a divorce, here is a guide to help you navigate through this process.
Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
Wisconsin is one of the 17 no-fault divorce states. This means that to file for divorce, neither party needs to provide a reason for the divorce. For example, in fault divorce states, one spouse would need to prove to the court that the other spouse's actions led to the divorce. This could include adultery, substance abuse issues, or incarceration.
In Wisconsin, the only grounds either spouse needs to present is something called an irretrievable breakdown of marriage. According to Wisconsin law, this means that either spouse states that there is no way to save the marriage.
If the married couple was living apart for at least one year, the court will consider this an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and neither spouse will need to present a statement before filing for divorce.
To file for divorce, the petitioner must be a resident of Wisconsin for at least six months. Additionally, the petitioner must also be a resident of the county where they are filing for divorce for at least 90 days.
Length of Divorces
In the state of Wisconsin, there is a minimum four-month waiting period between the day either spouse files for divorce and the court grants the divorce. However, if either spouse or their children are being physically threatened by the other spouse, the court will sometimes waive the four-month waiting period and grant the divorce sooner.
This four-month waiting period is the minimum amount of time it takes to receive a divorce in Wisconsin. Other circumstances can make the divorce take months, or even years, longer. For example, if there are custody or property disputes, the entire process could be dragged out for many months.
Additionally, once the divorce is finalized, both parties must wait at least six months before they can marry again.
Division of Marital Assets
Wisconsin is a community property state. Under this law, any property or assets that are acquired during the marriage are considered property of both spouses, and therefore, are divided equally during the divorce. However, if either spouse believes that an asset acquired during the marriage is their personal property, they must convince the court why it should be excluded when the assets are divided.
Any assets or property acquired prior to the marriage is considered personal property. For example, if one spouse purchased a house before the marriage and never placed the other spouse's name on the deed, in most cases, it would be considered personal property. Additionally, if either spouse inherits money or property during the marriage, the court will also consider this personal property.
The court will strive to divide the assets equally between both spouses.
If you are considering filing for divorce in Wisconsin, don't hesitate to hire an attorney immediately. Once again, Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, but this doesn't mean the process won't be complicated and messy. Do not place your children's future or your financial future in jeopardy and instead, hire an attorney to help protect and guide you through this process.
Filing for divorce in Wisconsin can be a lengthy and confusing process. If you have any further questions, contact the professionals at Doherty Law Offices SC.