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Understanding the Divorce Filing Process

Are you considering filing for divorce in Wisconsin? Ending a marriage isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. Learn what steps you need to take during the filing process.

Choosing to file for divorce in Wisconsin can be a difficult and emotional decision — let the divorce attorneys at Everson Law guide you through the proper steps.

Today, roughly 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce. While deciding it’s the end of the road in your relationship can be an extremely difficult and painful decision — one that often takes months or even years to decide — it’s not one you have to navigate alone.


If you’ve decided to end your relationship you will need to take steps to ensure your affairs are in order prior to filing. Due to the sensitive nature, filing for a divorce should be taken seriously and never done on your own. The easiest solution is hiring an experienced family law attorney for your divorce case. A divorce attorney can draft all the necessary documents, file them with the court for you and ensure nothing is delayed or errors were made. Hiring an attorney will also help you address any questions or concerns you may have such as:

  • What will happen to the children?

  • Who will get to live in the primary house/apartment?

  • What happens to the mortgage payments/rent/utility bills?

  • What if one spouse has less annual salary?

  • What happens to medical insurance and outgoing expenses?


If you and your spouse cannot come to a separation agreement, your attorney can request a hearing with the Family Court Commissioner by completing an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Temporary Order. Uncoupling appears differently depending on everyone’s unique circumstances, but there are specific requirements and steps you need to consider to ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible.


Decide How You Will File.

You need to decide if you and your spouse will be signing the petition together (filing jointly) or if only one of you will be completing the forms to start the action (filing alone).


Residency Requirement.

In Wisconsin, you must be a resident for a minimum of 6 months to file for a divorce. You must also reside in the county where you plan to file for at least 30 days.


File with the court.

You’ll need to file a summons, petition, and confidential petition addendum with your county court, pay a divorce filing fee, and serve your spouse papers. There is a 120-day waiting period before any final court hearing.


Financial documents.

You will need to get the proper documentation in order such as proof of income from you and your spouse, a list of assets, and any outstanding debts as a couple, and individually. Be prepared to also gather tax returns, vehicle titles, life insurance beneficiaries, health insurance documents, and an estimate of monthly outgoing expenses.


Maintenance (Spousal) and/or Child Support.

Child support is calculated based upon the percentage standard guidelines established by the State of Wisconsin Department of Children and Families' (DCF) Chapter 150. Each family and their financial situation is unique, so the actual child support payments may differ from case to case.


In Wisconsin, the percentage standard guidelines are based on the payer's "gross" (pre-tax) income or earning capacity and the number of children in the payee's care. The guideline percentage amounts are:

  • 17% for one child *based on primary placement

  • 25% for two children *based on primary placement

  • 29% for three children *based on primary placement

  • 31% for four children *based on primary placement

  • 34% for five children *based on primary placement

The experienced divorce attorneys at The Everson Law Firm know that divorce can be a painful and challenging process. At Everson, Whitney, Everson & Brehm S.C. in Green Bay, we understand the difficulties you may be facing. We’ll offer you compassionate and caring legal representation, and work to smooth the divorce process as much as possible.


If you have question, contact us to schedule a case consultation with Attorneys John H. Heide, Leah P. Derusha or Raeann A. Kramer. We provide Full-Service Family Law Representation and are experienced with complex marital property division concerns.
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Green Bay Address:

414 South Jefferson St.
Green Bay, WI 54301

Mailing Address:

The Everson Law Firm
P.O. Box 22248
Green Bay, WI 54305-2248

Phone 920-435-3734
Fax 920-435-0126

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Copyright © 2014 by Everson, Whitney, Everson & Brehm S.C. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for non-commercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.

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