Divorce Process - Video
May 24, 2016
Attorney Trevor Pedersen with the Pedersen Law Office. A common question I get at my office is how does a Wisconsin divorce work? In other words, what is the legal process to do a divorce in the state of Wisconsin? The first step is to work with your attorney who is going to draft the five major papers to start the divorce. There are normally five documents needed to start a divorce in Wisconsin but that can depend on the details of your case. Your attorney is going to take those papers to the courthouse to and have them filed. Those papers are then given to the process server who will have your spouse served with those papers telling them about the divorce. Then about two weeks later there is an Order to Show Cause hearing. An Order to Show Cause hearing is a Temporary Order hearing. The whole idea is that the court is going to sit down with the parties and discuss at least the four major topics in a divorce. Child Placement, Child Support, Alimony or Maintenance and Property Division. The court will hearing each parties argument or maybe an agreement as far as those topics go so that they may put together a temporary agreement or temporary order concerning the case. If the parities do not agree on the child placement, the court will order Mediation. Mediation is a process where the parties meet with a mediator and no attorneys to try to come up with an agreement on how the children will be taken care of after the divorce is done. In other words, who the children will live with when. If the parties agreement at mediation, great, then it is put in as the final order and everyone is happy. If the parties cannot agreement at mediation as far as placement then the court will appointment a guardian ad litem to the case. A guardian ad litem is an attorney whose job it is to investigate the case. Meaning meet with both parents, meet with the teacher of the children, meet with any other people who are a part of the child’s life such as grandparents or other relatives and come back to court and put together a recommendation as to what they think the placement should be. After that part is taken care of, the parties either agree on placement or a guardian ad litem makes a recommendation, the parties go into the negotiating stage of the case. During the negotiations the parties are going to sit down and discuss who gets what property for the final decision of the case. They will also discuss finalizing child support, maintenance or alimony. If the parties are able to come up with an agreement during these negotiations then a hearing is scheduled with the judge who will take the final agreement between the parties and make it the final judgment. If for some reason the parties cannot come up with an agreement during negotiation then the parties will going into the discovery process. The discovery process is where the attorneys are going to start exchanging documents and requesting paperwork back and forth from each other. It is will be such things as 401(k) statements, current location of assets, any information about anything that was transferred recently and simply make sure that everyone understands what is going on in the case. Then once the discovery process is taken care of, the two of them will go to the final divorce hearing. At the final divorce hearing the judge will hear from both sides, what they would like to see done and make a decision for them as to who will receive what property, alimony or maintenance, child support. If one of the things the parties cannot agree one is child placement, the guardian ad litem will also be there telling the judge what they think the final placement of the children should be and why. At that point the divorce will be over with. Obviously this is a simplified version of what a divorce looks like in the state of Wisconsin, it can be a lot more complicated than that, it just depends on the details of the case. A divorce in Wisconsin takes at least 120 days, the average is about 6 months and an ugly divorce in the state of Wisconsin can be over a year or more. If you would like to know more about a divorce in the state of Wisconsin or if you have any question and would like to have a free initial consult give our office a call. Appleton or Menasha office at 920-727-0970 or Green office at 920-884-9500.