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What are the Grounds for Divorce in Wisconsin?

If your marriage is coming to an end, you may wonder how to file for a divorce. You may have heard of various grounds for divorce and wonder what your options are in Wisconsin. Luckily, Wisconsin is a state that utilizes no-fault divorce. You do not need to have a reason to file for divorce as you do in some other places. A no-fault divorce means that neither party is to blame and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Because you do not need to have a specific reason for a divorce, the process is somewhat easier and less complicated.

Requirements for Divorce in Wisconsin

Before you file for divorce in Wisconsin, you should verify that you meet the requirements. You must have resided in Wisconsin for a period of at least six months before you file for divorce. The hearing will take place no sooner than 120 days after the petition for divorce was served to the respondent. You must be able to prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken. You can prove this through a joint petition stating that both parties agree to the divorce.

You may also provide proof that you and your spouse were living apart for a period of 12 months immediately before filing. Wisconsin law states that the judge will make a determination as to the breakdown of the marriage, stating that the couple does not have a chance of reconciliation.

What Happens if We do Not Agree About Settlement Terms?

Although a couple may be in agreement that their marriage is broken, they may not agree as to the custody arrangements. Generally, joint custody is the common option. This means that both parents will provide for the children. The children will reside primarily with one parent and the other parent will have visitation. If one party contests child custody, the court requires mediation. Mediation is a meeting with a professional to assist in the resolution of a disputed marital settlement issue. The court may also require parents to attend an educational program to help them handle the impact of divorce on their children.

In some instances, wrongdoing in the marriage may affect the distribution of marital assets as part of the divorce settlement. Wisconsin is a community property state, so assets that you acquired during the marriage belong to both parties equally. While you don’t need grounds for divorce, you may be able to prove that your spouse’s marital misconduct caused harm to your assets and therefore, you may request more of the assets in a divorce. Because divorce is complicated, it is in your best interest to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney will answer your questions and assist in the entire process to make it easier and less stressful. Your lawyer will always act on your behalf and in your best interest. To learn more about divorce or to get help, contact our experienced legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. for an initial consultation.

Published July 1, 2019
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