Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide


Wisconsin No Fault Divorce


Wisconsin is a “purely no fault divorce” state where the only grounds on which the divorce can be obtained is the “no fault”. According to Wisconsin no fault divorce laws, if a spouse states in the court that he/she wants to divorce the spouse because the marriage has irretrievably broken down owing to “incompatibility of temperament” or “irreconcilable differences”, then the divorce would be granted to that spouse.

Filing of divorce in Wisconsin no fault divorce

If a person has decided to divorce his/her spouse, then he/she must file a Summons and Petition for divorce with the court in the state of Wisconsin. The waiting period before the court calls for a hearing on the case is 120-days. A summons is sent to the other spouse informing him/her about the divorce. That spouse must file a counter claim within 20 days of receiving the summons. This is to ensure that the courts do not consider the “defendant spouse” as defaulter. After the waiting period is over, the court would declare the hearing for the trial date.

If a spouse is not willing to divorce and the other spouse has filed the divorce, then the court would still be granting the divorce as the other spouse has testified that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.

Property division in Wisconsin no fault divorce

The matter of property division is mostly settled “outside the court” by the spouses. While dividing the property courts in Wisconsin do not consider the “fault” or “wrongdoing” of a spouse. What is considered important is that the property is divided equally as this state is “community property state”. Here, the “marital property” which was acquired during the course of the marriage is split up into two. The factors that affect the matter of splitting the property are: the length of the marriage, the property of one spouse which can not be split up, employment power of a spouse etc. Even if the property is on the name of one spouse only, yet the property would be divided equally among them after divorce.

In most of the no fault cases, spouses try to settle the matter of property division among themselves. This is to ensure that the trial process is much shorter and also takes less money.

Child custody in Wisconsin no fault divorce

According to WI no fault divorce laws, the matter of child custody is usually settled among the spouses “outside the court”. Spouses generally participate in custody mediation programmes as recommended by the courts and these mediators help spouses to formulate a sound parenting plan and visitation schedule that help in the proper care of the child despite the divorce. They also prefer settling the matter of custody among themselves, as most parents wish to avoid the child to face the messy court battles. Moreover, contesting child custody also takes a lot of time and money which is equally agonizing.

As is clear from the above discussion that uncontested no fault divorce trials take very little time, where as a contested trial in divorce would take longer. Thus, the choice of contesting the divorce trial lies with the spouse filing for divorce. One must consult with the attorney in this matter.


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