agreements with your spouse about child custody and other matters, there are three major milestones that you’ll hit along the way.
Divorce Step 1: The Petition for Divorce
A divorce starts with a simple petition. One spouse files it (the petitioner), but it doesn’t matter which one; Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, which means you don’t have to have any reason to divorce other than an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
It doesn’t matter where you were married, either. What’s important is that the petitioner is a resident of the jurisdiction in which he or she filed.
The petition tells the state of Wisconsin that you intend to dissolve your marriage. It includes information on what you intend to do about visitation of minor children, how you intend to divide your property (such as whether you’ll sell your marital home and split the proceeds, or whether one of you will keep the china cabinet in exchange for the restored muscle car in the garage), and address any other issues that pertain to your divorce.
Divorce Step 2: The Response to the Petition
The person who filed the petition is the petitioner, but the person who didn’t file is called the respondent. The respondent can “answer” the petition with a counterclaim, which says that you also want a divorce (and it tells the judge assigned to your case that even if your spouse has a change of heart, you don’t necessarily want to drop the case).
Divorce Step 3: Finalization
After you and your spouse have hashed out the details, whether or not you’ve had to do it in court, work with a mediator, or have the judge decide what happens next, you’ll receive a final divorce decree that dissolves your marriage.
You’re still technically married until the judge signs the divorce decree.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Divorcing Your Spouse?
If you’re considering divorce, or if your spouse has already filed divorce paperwork, you may benefit from talking to a Milwaukee divorce lawyer who understands how the legal system works and how Wisconsin’s divorce laws will affect your case.
Call us at 414-383-6700 (Milwaukee) or 262-650-6700 (Waukesha) to talk to an attorney right now. You can also contact us online if it’s easier. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and help you begin moving forward on a new path.