State Laws

Wisconsin Divorce


Wisconsin Divorce Requirements
In order for a divorce case to be processed, individuals must first meet the necessary residency requirements. Residency requirements are mandatory as divorce cases are filed through the county circuit courts in each state.

If a case is filed towards the incorrect court, the case will be dismissed. In Wisconsin individuals must reside in the state as residents for a minimum of six months prior to filing for divorce. Only one spouse is required to be a Wisconsin resident and must reside within the county of filing for a minimum of thirty days prior to divorce filing.

If both individuals are Wisconsin residents but reside in different counties for the stipulated time requirements, either individual may file for divorce in either county. A clerk will schedule a hearing within one hundred twenty days after a summons service and petition.

Wisconsin Divorce Grounds
Divorce grounds are the reason or reasons why individuals request a divorce. Each state has different divorce grounds in which it acknowledges as legal.

Not all states have the same divorce grounds and some have several while others have only one. When filing individuals must present the grounds for divorce before the court. One individual may decide on divorce grounds upon divorce petitioning but will need to prove those grounds before the court. Individuals may also agree on grounds and petition together.

The state of Wisconsin has only one legal ground for divorce: the grounds of an irretrievably broken marriage. Certain circumstances must first apply for these grounds to be legal.

When both individuals petition for divorce they must both state that the marriage is broken beyond repair. The individuals may also have lived apart for a minimum of twelve months or more prior to divorce filing. These twelve months must be consecutive and include no cohabitation.

Cohabitation can also include living in the same household but residing in different sections of the residence. The court will consider each individual's testimonies before granting or denying a divorce.

If only one individual states that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that living apart was not voluntary, the court will consider the circumstances. In involuntary circumstances individuals must also live apart for at least twelve months. The court will also consider why one individual requests a divorce while the other does not.

Divorce Documents
Because each divorce case is different, different documents will be required. Varying circumstances will dictate how many and which documents will be necessary. Some divorces can have as many as twenty separate documents while others can have as many as twelve separate documents.

The number of documents depends on any children present, the length of the marriage, acquire property throughout the marriage, the grounds for divorce, and other circumstances. Some of these documents include a Petition for Divorce and Decree and Divorce, a Request for a Status Conference and Finding of Fact, a Marital Settlement Agreement, a Financial Disclosure Statement, a Proposed Parenting Plan, a Judgment, and a Conclusions of Law. All of these documents will be filed to the county court clerks' office and will be held until the date of the hearing.

See also:
Wisconsin Felony
Wisconsin Gun Laws
Wisconsin Bankruptcy Laws
Wisconsin Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Wisconsin Expungement External link (opens in new window)