Alternatives to Court Battles
How to Start
Guardian Ad Litem &
Marriage Counseling as a First Step
Any marriage that was once good may be worth
saving. It is important to remember that we can't love our mates at all
hours of the day on all days of the week. Let's face it. Marriages take
work. Before you consider divorce, reconsider your marriage. Divorce is and
should be a final and drastic step.
Grounds for Divorce
Wisconsin, like most states, is a "no fault" divorce state. That means that
no grounds or "fault" is necessary to file a divorce. In fact, under most
circumstances issues of fault such as infidelity are irrelevant to the
proceedings. The only legal basis for divorce in Wisconsin is that the
marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Wisconsin courts generally will find a
marriage irretrievably broken even if only one of the spouses wants a
If you do believe that your marriage relationship may be salvaged or for
religious reasons do not want to proceed with divorce, you may still
separate and address financial issues through a legal separation. Just like
a divorce the court may divide property, determine custody and physical
placement, child support, and maintenance. The only difference between a
legal separation and a divorce is that in a divorce the marital relationship
is severed. A legal separation may also be converted into a divorce by
either party after one year.
In our modern world, an annulment tends to be more a creature of religion
than of law. Annulments are rarely granted and when they are, very specific
circumstances must exist. Often people believe that they may annul a
marriage simply because it was of a very short duration. That is not the
case. To annul a marriage, a person must demonstrate that the marriage is
void because it is prohibited by the laws of the State or is
voidable because the intent to enter into a civil contract was
not present at the time that the parties married. When an annulment is
granted, it dissolves a marriage and treats it as if it had never occurred.
Some reasons for annulment include bigamy, marriage under the age of
consent, marriage by force, marriage based on fraud, marriage without
disclosing sexual impotency.
In order to file a divorce in Wisconsin, you must
demonstrate that Wisconsin has jurisdiction. There is a residency
requirement that one spouse must have been lived in Wisconsin for at least
six months immediately prior to the divorce filing. The divorce may be filed
in any county where one spouse has lived for at least 30 days.
to Court Battles
The way a divorce is commenced and how long it takes may
depend on the process that you choose. Not all divorce issues must be
resolved in a court room battle. The simplest divorce is one that is
resolved by an agreement of the parties. Once an agreement is reached, it
can be taken to a lawyer to draft up all the necessary divorce papers. This
process will obviously save each of the parties significant time, money and
emotional turmoil. However, in most cases, the parties will need help in
reaching agreements. In such cases, the parties may try mediation to
resolve their issues. Although mediation may occur before a dissolution
proceeding is commenced., where there are unresolved issues, it is also
likely to be required by the Court after divorce papers are filed.
Often, the divorce process turns spouses into bitter
adversaries requiring them to argue and fight about issues. This is
generally not a pleasant process. It can be time consuming, emotionally
draining and expensive. For that reason, an alternative has been developed
which provides each spouse with legal advice and treats the parties to a
divorce like team members allowing them to discuss and resolve their issues
in creative ways. Often, this process leads to better, lasting solutions,
reduces costs and speed up the process.
How To Start & How
Long Does It Take
To commence a divorce in the Court system, two documents
must be filed with the Clerk of Court in your county along with a filing
fee and served on the other party. The documents include the following:
- A Summons which
indicates that a divorce is being filed;
- A Petition for
Dissolution of Marriage which sets out basic factual information about
the each spouse, the children, if any, and asset information along with
a request for relief from the Court.
The person filing the
documents is referred to as the “petitioner.” The other spouse is referred
to as the “respondent.” There are few advantages or disadvantages to being
the first one to file. The only real advantage is being able to choose the
county where the action is filed if the parties live in different counties.
Pursuant to Wisconsin statutes, except for certain
emergencies, a final hearing cannot be held for a minimum of 120 days.
However, the divorce process may, in fact last much longer depending on the
complexities of the case. Divorces are concluded mist rapidly when the
parties are able to agree upon the issues related to debt and property