Getting a divorce is not an easy thing to do. There is a tremendous amount of emotional pressure involved, and everyone wants to do it with minimum grievance during the separation process. For residents of Wisconsin, specific rules and regulations apply when it comes to getting a divorce. However, if you and your spouse agree on the divorce process and are willing to come to terms without any requirement for mediation, then you can even do it online.
Online divorce is a simple and cost-effective way of preparing for a divorce without getting any other people involved. Many couples now favor divorce over the internet, particularly since the pandemic spread across the United States. This article provides all the information you need to make sure that you go through your divorce without a hitch. Some things are pretty standard in the state of Wisconsin, so you will need to fulfill those regardless of the method you decide to follow.
Every state in the country provides rules and guidelines on mandatory residential status to apply for divorce. Things are no different in Wisconsin, where at least one of the spouses must have residency status for a minimum of six months. Additionally, they will need to be residents in their county for at least 30 days. Meeting both these requirements is the only way to qualify as a resident. While only one of the spouses needs to meet these requirements, not meeting them would lead to a waiting period until one of the two qualifies.
You will also need to provide proof of this residency. The easiest way to do so is to provide a state driver’s license that is at least six months old. If you cannot do that, you can also ask someone you know to testify on your behalf using an Affidavit of Corroborating Witness form.
Wisconsin is a Community State – Property Division
Wisconsin is a community state, which means all the property that you or your spouse acquired after the marriage will be distributed equally, regardless of either spouse’s contribution. This does not apply to the property that you or your spouse bought before getting married. Any property received by either of the spouses as a gift or as part of their inheritance will also be considered separate property.
While the state does provide equal property division, there are some rules in place to make sure each spouse is treated fairly. Some of the factors that may come into play include each spouse’s economic situation, the amount of effort put in to acquire each property, merits provided by each spouse, and financial burdens affecting each spouse because of property distribution. In some cases, the court may even decide to divide separate properties of either spouse to ensure no hardship falls upon the other spouse or their children.
Affairs of Children and Alimony
The state of Wisconsin is particular about creating a custody solution in the best interest of both the spouses and the children. The couple can come up with their own terms, and if they agree on the terms, the court will grant them without any objection. However, if there is any concern that the children may be impacted negatively by the arrangement, the court may ask you to revise your solution or provide you with a new one.
Joint child custody is the most favored solution in all cases, and it does not mean children spend equal time with both parents. While the state does not favor either parent based on their gender, they want to make sure that each parent can handle the responsibility. In cases where one of the parents may be deemed incapable of supporting the children, the court will help set up supervised or unsupervised visitation for the parent incapable of taking care of the children.
In the state of Wisconsin, it is the state’s responsibility to set the rates for child support in each divorce. Parents with full custody of the child are not required to pay any specific amount if they cover the child’s needs. They also get support for these expenses paid by the non-custodial parent. The minimum payment is 17% of the income if there is only one child. In the case of two children, this amount goes up to 25%. Non-custodial parents may be asked to pay as much as 34% if five or more children need care.
This amount is the set standard that most parents need to adhere to as part of the divorce agreement. However, the court can make changes in the percentage under exceptional circumstances.
The term used for alimony in Wisconsin is maintenance, and in an uncontested divorce, this needs to be decided by the spouses. However, it should meet some basic criteria to make sure neither of the spouses is mistreated. Typical factors considered by the court in contested divorce cases include property division, marriage length, educational level of each spouse, the capacity to become self-supporting, and any other agreements made between the spouses. The same can also be used as a guideline to determine an alimony situation that favors both spouses. In a situation where it may be applicable, both parties may even forego their right to receive alimony upon mutual agreement.
Fees and Timelines
If you decide to go for an online divorce, the cost of doing so will be drastically lower than what you would pay to a lawyer. Of course, there are several key differences, some of which justify the additional cost of hiring a lawyer. If you are aware of the entire process and are confident that you can do everything without a lawyer, then the only fee you may need to pay is the filing fee. This is the fee you pay to your county clerk for processing your divorce documents.
Each county has its own fee structure, so you will need to check for that before applying. The average cost is around $200, with the minimum cost of divorce being above $150. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may request a waiver from the clerk’s office. Your request will then be reviewed by the court to decide if you qualify for the waiver.
If you are going for an uncontested divorce with no complications involved, your divorce will take about 120 days to process. However, if there are disagreements or complications in the divorce or if the court requires clarification on any issue, this timeline could extend further.
The process involved in filing for divorce in Wisconsin is like that of many other states. Depending on whether you have minor children or not, you will be required to use a different set of documents. Here is a step-by-step process that you need to follow to get your paperwork ready.
- The spouse responsible for dealing with the court will get several documents and fill them out. In case there are no minor children, they will acquire and complete Summons without Minor Children, Petition without Minor Children, Confidential Petition Addendum, and Financial Disclosure Statement.
- The other spouse will then receive the documents and complete the Response and Counterclaim, Admission of Service (if you received the documents from the petitioner in the mail), and Financial Disclosure Statement.
- If minor children are involved, the petitioning spouse will complete Summons with Minor Children, Petition with Minor Children, Confidential Petition Addendum, Proposed Parenting Plan, and Financial Disclosure Statement.
- The respondent spouse will then be required to fill out the Response and Counterclaim, Admission of Service (if you received the documents through the mail), Proposed Parenting Plan, and Financial Disclosure Statement.
Once all the documents are in order, they will be submitted to the county clerk’s office along with the filing fee. As soon as your documents are filed, your 120-day waiting period will begin. Your final hearing will come after that period so long as no complications arise.
In a DIY divorce, there are still some steps that require going to the courthouse or the clerk’s office. One way of making things a lot easier is to opt for an online divorce service. These divorce companies are not lawyers per se, but they can provide you with online help. All you need to do is answer questions about your marriage. Then they take care of the preparation of your forms. Everything can be done at your convenience and without leaving home. The cost is also not that much, usually from $130 to $500 depending on the site you choose — not a bad deal to make things much easier.