WISCONSIN DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
WISCONSIN 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of Wisconsin. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in court.
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your Wisconsin divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file for divorce in Wisconsin in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: Wisconsin
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court's requirements for the next steps you'll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that's still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in Wisconsin.
How Does Online Divorce Work in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you'll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that's needed. You'll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in Wisconsin?
There are two parts to Wisconsin's residency requirement for getting a divorce in the state. When you file your initial divorce papers, either you or spouse must have been a resident of:
- the state for at least six months, and
- the county where you file the papers for at least 30 days.
(Wis. Stat. § 767.301 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that the filing spouse doesn't have to prove that the other was at fault for ending the marriage. Instead, both spouses should simply state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning there's no hope they'll get back together. (Wis. Stat. § 767.315 (2022).)
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Wisconsin?
Many Wisconsin residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they're filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means they've agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony (known as “spousal maintenance” in Wisconsin), and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you'll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
You may use Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ as long as you have an uncontested divorce, you meet the state's residency requirement, and both you and your spouse affirm that your marriage is irretrievably broken. You'll need to have a written marital settlement agreement, signed by both you and your spouse, that covers all of the issues in your divorce. Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ will guide you through the process of creating this agreement, based on your answers to the questionnaire.
Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ can also help if you aren't ready to file for divorce, but you want a separation agreement with your spouse. For instance, you might want to work out arrangements for support, custody of your children, who has to move out of the family home, and how to take care of the bills while you're separated but still legally married.
What If My Spouse and I Can't Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven't been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you're able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator's help, you can then use Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in Wisconsin If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you'll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won't be able to address custody-related issues with Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don't meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in Wisconsin with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). If you don't meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule. (Wis. Stat. § 822.21 (2022).)
How Will My Online Divorce in Wisconsin Deal With Child Support?
In Wisconsin, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, Wisconsin has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the Wisconsin Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is in your children's best interests.
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren't legally required, such as a parent's contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child's college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in Wisconsin is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you'll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. You'll need to submit a “Stipulation to Change” (Form FA-604A), along with a proposed new order, to the court and your local Child Support Agency.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™, you'll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you'll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you've chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse's share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you'll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you'll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you'll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You'll almost always need this kind of expert help when you're dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here's how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don't have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that's needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse's share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse's name. (You'll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in Wisconsin?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your Wisconsin divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in Wisconsin?
When you get your completed forms with Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file the papers with the court in the county where you or your spouse have lived for the past month. You may file the documents online through the Wisconsin circuit court's e-filing system.
Some counties require that you file your divorce papers electronically. Check with the court clerk's office in the Wisconsin county where you'll be filing for the local rules.
How Much Is Wisconsin's Filing Fee for Divorce?
The circuit court filing fee for initial divorce papers in Wisconsin is currently $184.50, plus $10 if you're requesting child support or spousal maintenance. There's also a $20 fee for e-filing.
What If I Can't Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can't afford to pay the court's filing fee, you can ask for a waiver by submitting a Petition for Waiver of Fees and Costs (Affidavit of Indigency). A judge will decide whether you qualify, based on the information you've provided about your income, assets, and debts.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin requires a waiting period of 120 days (from the time you filed a joint petition or, if you didn't file jointly, from the date your spouse was served with the divorce papers) before the court will schedule a hearing to finalize your divorce. (Wis. Stat. § 767.335 (2022).)
But even once your divorce is final, you should know it's illegal in Wisconsin to remarry until at least six months after the judge signed the final divorce judgment. (Wis. Stat. § 765.03(2) (2022).)
How Can I Get More Help With Wisconsin Online Divorce?
Wisconsin 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our Wisconsin Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about Wisconsin law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.