Once you have made the difficult decision to end your marriage, you want to get through the process as efficiently and quickly as possible. The length of time it takes to obtain a final divorce decree can vary greatly, depending on the factors of the individual case. The shortest length of time it will take to complete the process is 120 days from the date that the papers are served. It is helpful to seek legal guidance and representation from the beginning so the process will be as easy and stress-free as possible.
The Divorce Process
The divorce process is not difficult to understand. The first step is for one party to file a petition for dissolution of marriage. The papers include a divorce petition, summons, order to show case, and petition addendum. Your attorney will take care of the details of the forms. As soon as you file the petition, you need to serve your spouse with the divorce papers. A process server will take care of this step and provide you or your attorney with an affidavit of service. It is on this service date that the 120-day clock begins to run.
When the papers are filed, the court will schedule a hearing. This is known as the first hearing or temporary hearing. The temporary hearing may be used to address issues such as finances and child custody. The temporary orders are in place only until the divorce is final. It is important to note that the temporary hearing is critical because issues that the judge decides now could influence the permanent decisions. At the temporary hearing, the judge sets a date for scheduling conference. This date is at least 120 days from the day your spouse was served with divorce papers.
Finalizing a Divorce in Wisconsin
The court expects couples to resolve the settlement terms of the divorce. If they cannot come to an agreement, the divorce will take longer. In general, the court will approve an agreement that both parties have agreed to, as long as it is in the best interest of the children. When you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, you may need to seek mediation. A mediator is an objective professional who facilitates dispute resolution.
Mediation is an option that is available for any couples, but the court may order it if you cannot resolve your differences on your own. A mediator will help you communicate and you may be able to see the issues more objectively. The sooner you can resolve your problems and get through the divorce, the sooner your family can begin to establish a new normal. Most divorce cases take longer than 120 days and some contentious divorces can drag on for months or years.
The best way to get a speedy and fair divorce is with help from a knowledgeable Wisconsin divorce attorney. Your lawyer will guide the process and assist with resolving issues before they get out of hand. Your attorney will always fight for your rights and ensure that you obtain a fair settlement. Contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to discuss your divorce case today.