Divorce / Legal Separation
- Divorce ends a marriage. The court rules on such issues as the division of property, maintenance (spousal support), and if necessary, arrangements for child support, legal custody, and physical placement.
- Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it does end "marital" property. The court rules on the same issues as for divorce.
- An annulment is a court procedure that declares that a marriage never existed. However, a court may annul a marriage only under limited circumstances. If you think an annulment is right for you, you should get legal advice.
Once you choose what process is right for you, you need to decide if you are filing alone or together with your spouse.
- Collaborative Divorce uses a team of experts to help spouses to work out an agreement before filing the divorce. It is a process focused on the needs of each spouse and the children, if applicable. Options are available for families of limited means.
Find more information here: Collaborative Foundation of Wisconsin: https://www.collabwis.org/
- Traditional Divorce Filing means that that spouses are either filing papers on their own (pro se) or are hiring attorneys to manage the process. Filing may take one of two different paths, Jointly or Separately
- Filing Jointly means that both you and your spouse agree to the divorce and will both sign all the papers. No service of papers is required. Filing “jointly” also means that both spouses agree on how everything will be divided and decided (property division, child support, spousal support, custody/placement, etc.). Additionally, both spouses must attend the court hearing in front of the Family Court Commissioner.
- Filing Separately means that only one spouse is signing documents, filing them with the court, and having the other spouse served with the papers. This process should be used if the spouses disagree on anything
Do you have minor children?
- Yes, use “with minor children” papers if any of these apply to you:
- You and your spouse had children (born or adopted) together before you were married and these children are either under 18 years old or still in high school.
- You and your spouse had children (born or adopted) together while you were married and these children are either under 18 years old or still in high school.
- One of you had children (born) while married to your spouse, but the spouse is not the other parent; no other court case names another parent (e.g. paternity action); and, and these children are either under 18 years old or still in high school.
- No, use “without minor children” papers if any of these apply to you:
- You and your spouse never had children together.
- You and your spouse had children together (born or adopted) and these children are over age 18.
- You or your spouse have children with another person and these children were born or adopted before you married your current spouse.
- One of you had children (born) while you were married to your spouse, but the spouse is not the parent, but a court case names another parent (e.g. paternity action).
Would you like to see a basic guide about divorce / legal separation?
Would you like the forms and step-by-step checklist on how to file for divorce / legal separation?
How do I get the papers to my spouse/other parent/other party?