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.
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).
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.
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.