Divorce ends a marriage. The court rules on issues like the division of property, maintenance (spousal support), and child support, legal custody, and physical placement. There is a 120-day waiting period to get divorced. Once the divorce is granted, the parties cannot remarry anywhere in the world for at least six months.
Wisconsin is a "no fault" divorce state, which means neither spouse must prove that the other has done anything wrong, and only one spouse must testify under oath that they believe that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Wisconsin Statute 767.315 lists the grounds for divorce and legal separation in Wisconsin. See the Wisconsin Court System's Basic Guide to Divorce and Legal Separation to learn more about divorce or legal separation.Ask a Question
How long does it take to get divorced?
Wisconsin has a 120 day waiting period before the court can hear the final hearing. (See Wis. Stat. 767.335 "Waiting period for final hearing or trial") The Court’s calendar, how you filed (joint or separate, with or without children), and whether you disagree on anything may determine how long the process will take.
How do I file for an annulment?
The Wisconsin Statute 767.313(1) on annulment describes the grounds for which a court may annul a marriage. The State Bar's divorce FAQ gives some examples of reasons for annulment. There are no standard court forms for filing an annulment. The library has sample forms in its book collection (See 1D Am. Jur. Pl. & Pr. Forms Annulment of Marriage Sections 1-95). You may wish to speak with an attorney for help.
How do I serve papers on the person I'm divorcing?
Use the Wisconsin Court System guides for service to learn basic steps and ways to serve the other party in a family case.
- Service (WI Court System)
- Service by Publication (WI Court System)
- Publication summons form (WI Court System)
- Serving papers to your spouse / other parent / other party (Milwaukee Justice Center)
- Service by publication: Video (Milwaukee Justice Center)
Ask a Question
- WI Statutes: s. 765.03 "Who shall not marry; divorced persons"
- WI Statutes: s. 766.55 "Obligations of Spouses"
- WI Statutes:
ch. 767 "Actions Affecting the Family"
- WI Statutes: s. 767.313(1) "Annulment"
- Divorce, Legal Separation (WI Court System)
Pre and post-judgment forms
- Self-help forms assistant (WI Court System)
- Publication Summons (WI Court System)
- Divorce / Annulment Worksheet (WI Dept. of Health Services)
Filed with the State Vital Records Office when the divorce is finalized.
- Divorce Forms & Guides from Wisconsin Counties (WI State Law Library)
- Videos: how to fill out forms (Milwaukee Justice Center)
Recommended links from our County Resources database:
- Family Court Forms (Dane Clerk of Court)
Divorce, legal separation, annulment, paternity, post-judgment, "paternity packet". Some forms and instructions also available in Spanish / Espanol.
- Motion for Contempt (Manitowoc Clerk of Court)
Family and paternity actions.
Everything listed in this section are statewide guides created by the Wisconsin Court System.
- Basic Guide to Divorce or Legal Separation
General information about the divorce process.
- Divorce and Family Law (WI Court System Self-Help Law Center)
- Appointment of Guardian ad Litem
- Conversion of Legal Separation to Divorce
- DeNovo Review
- Order to Appear
- Request for Mediation
- Service by Publication
- Stipulation & Order to Amend Judgment with Arrears
- Suspension & Dismissal
Guides and FAQs
- Choosing a Process for Divorce: Answering Your Legal Questions (State Bar of WI)
- Divorce: Answering Your Legal Questions (State Bar of WI)
- Managing your Divorce: A Guide for Battered Women (Nat'l Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges)
- Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Compensation and Divorce (North Carolina State Bar)
- Divorce or Annulment Certificates (WI Vital Records Office)
Request copies of a divorce or annulment certificate.
- Country-Specific Legal Information (US Dept. of State)
Includes service of process, obtaining evidence, and other cross-border legal issues.
- Divorce Abroad (US Dept. of State)
Family court mediation
- Collaborative Family Law Council of Wisconsin
An "association of lawyers, mental health professionals and financial advisors who work together to learn, practice and promote a collaborative process for problem solving and peaceful resolution of family law issues." Site includes directory of professionals and FAQs about collaborative law.
- Divorced or Separated Individuals: Publication 504 (IRS)
Includes who can claim a dependent.
- Federal and Wisconsin Income Tax Reporting Under the Marital Property Act
- Tax Information for Married Persons Filing Separate Returns and Persons Divorced (WI Dept. of Revenue)
Recommended links from our County Resources database:
- Affidavit of Efforts to Locate Absent Respondent (Dane Clerk of Court)
- Basic guide to divorce (Waukesha Clerk of Court)
Steps for filing a divorce in Waukesha County, including forms, service, temporary hearings, and the pre-trial conference
- Checklist for Contested Divorce or Legal Separation (Dane Clerk of Court)
- Checklist for Uncontested Divorce or Legal Separation (Dane Clerk of Court)
- Collaborative Divorce (Green County Family Court)
- Divorce / Legal Separation (Milwaukee Justice Center (MJC))
- Divorce Process (Green County Family Court)
- Divorce/Legal Separation (Waukesha Circuit Court)
Guided resource to the divorce process, procedures and forms.
- Family Court Guides (Racine Family Court Commissioner)
- Fond du Lac County Family Court Handbook (Fond du Lac Family Court Commissioner)
- Kewaunee County Family Law Handbook (Kewaunee Family Court)
- Mediation Videos (Dane County Bar Association)
Video guides: Preparation for Mediation; Divorce Mediation; Personal Injury Mediation; Contract Mediation
- Moving On: A Guide to Pro Se Divorce (Dane County Bar Association)
- Moving On: Your Divorce Trial (Dane County Bar Association)
- Serving documents to the other party (Milwaukee Milwaukee Justice Center)
Service of process information for divorce, name change, family court cases, and small claims
Library books & articles
- Advising the evolving family
KFW 2811.5 .H64 A38 2018
- Dividing Retirement Plans in Divorce in Wisconsin
KFW 2500 .Z9 D73 2001
- Divorce Resources
- Family law in Wisconsin
KFW 2500.L6 S952
- Roadmap Through Divorce Proceedings
KFW 2500 .A75 R62 2008
- Wisconsin Judicial Benchbook: Family (Vol. 3)
KFW 2915 .W5 J86
- Fathers' rights: a legal guide to protecting the best interests of your children
KF 540.Z9 G76 2004
- International family law desk book
K 670 .E845 2016
- International family law practice
K 670 .A15 I57
- Military divorce handbook
KF 535 .S85 2019
- Nolo’s Essential Guide to Divorce
KF 535 .Z9 D67 2018
- Pet law and custody
KF 390.5 .A5 G57 2017
- Principles of the law of family dissolution
KF 505 .A1 F25 2008
Read this title on HeinOnline
Law Review Articles
- After the Split: the Marital Property Act's Effects on Debt after Marriage
80 Wis. Lawyer 11 (Nov 2007)
- Business Owners in Divorce: a Basic Overview
81 Wis Lawyer 6 (June 2008)
- Following Alaska’s Lead: A Wisconsin Pet Custody Statute
90 Wis. Lawyer 42 (April 2017)
- Gay Divorcee: When Same-Sex Marriages Dissolve
85 Wis Lawyer 7 (July 2012)
- Policing the Prenup: When Love at First Sight Deserves A Second Look
39 Women's Rts. L. Rep. 1 (2017)
- Valuing Retirement Benefits in Divorce
85 Wis Lawyer 6 (June 2012)
- Voilà! Taking the Judge Out of Divorce, 42 Seattle U. L. Rev. 161 (2018)