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Divorce Laws in Wisconsin

During a divorce, in Wisconsin, if the couple wants to try to work things out, the court will put the divorce on hold for up to 90 days while they attempt reconciliation. This is a “time out” period for the couple and does not count against them on grounds of a marriage that is irretrievably broken or continuous separation of at least one year, even if the couple chooses to live together during their reconciliation attempt. Either spouse may choose to end the “time out” and resume the divorce proceedings at any time.

Wisconsin has a four-month waiting period for divorce.

Residency and jurisdiction in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, at least one spouse must live in the State for at least six months, and in the county where divorce is filed for at least 30 days prior to filing.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Wisconsin
Wisconsin only grants no fault divorce. Acceptable grounds are as follows:

  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  • Living apart for at least one year

Division of property in Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a community property State. Property is divided in half between spouses. Marital misconduct will not be considered when dividing property. The court may choose to divide community property in a manner other than dividing the property in half after considering all of the following factors:

  • Length of marriage
  • Property brought to the marriage
  • Any substantial assets which are not subject to division by the court
  • Contributions to the marriage including homemaking
  • Age and physical and emotional health
  • Contribution to the education or earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Earning capacity
  • Child custody
  • Time and expense necessary to become self supporting at the same standard of living which was enjoyed during the marriage
  • Spousal support
  • Economic circumstances including retirement benefits and future interests
  • Prenuptial or other agreements
  • Tax consequences

Spousal support in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, spousal support may be granted for a specified or indefinite length of time. When determining spousal support the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age and physical and emotional health
  • Property division
  • Education at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Earning capacity and any damage to earning capacity caused by the marriage
  • Time and expense necessary to becomes self supporting, if it is reasonably likely for the spouse seeking support to become self supporting at the same standard of living enjoyed during the marriage
  • Prenuptial or other agreements between spouses
  • Contribution to the education or earning capacity of the other spouse
  • Tax consequences

Child custody and support in Wisconsin
When determining child custody, in Wisconsin, the court must consider the following factors:

  • Wishes of the parents and any parenting plans proposed by the parents
  • Wishes of the child
  • Relationship between the child and parents, siblings, and any other significant parties
  • Amount of time that the parent has spent with the child prior to divorce and any reasonable lifestyle changes the parent is willing to make in order to spend time with the child in the future
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, religion, and community
  • Child’s age and educational and developmental needs
  • Whether the mental or physical health of anyone living in a parent’s household effects the child’s intellectual, physical or emotional well-being
  • The need to provide predictability and stability for the child
  • Cooperation between parents
  • Availability of child care services
  • Willingness and ability to foster a close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Evidence of abusive behavior
  • Evidence of spousal battery
  • Current or past significant alcohol or drug abuse
  • Any reports made by appropriate professionals

Wisconsin uses the Percentage of Income formula for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Wisconsin, contact an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Wisconsin and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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