Wisconsin Divorce Laws

Given that the dissolution of marriage is often a long and expensive process with a large number of requirements, spouses should familiarize themselves with at least the most important divorce laws in Wisconsin. Understanding the basic Wisconsin divorce laws will help you prepare the correct dissolution of marriage forms and determine the steps to divorce in Wisconsin, depending on the case.

Some of the divorce laws in Wisconsin can be confusing, so in this article, we have collected information on the general rules that apply to both contested and uncontested dissolution of marriage.

If, after reading it, you still feel you need some professional help, you can use our online service to complete your paperwork if you have an agreed-upon dissolutionment of marriage. We offer fast and reliable preparation of divorce documents at an affordable price.

Wisconsin Divorce Requirements

WI divorce laws have an extensive list of rules to obtain a dissolution of marriage. They relate to residency requirements, acceptable grounds for dissolution of marriage in Wisconsin, mandatory waiting period, and others.

Here are the basic preparatory steps you need to follow to get a dissolutionment of marriage without delay:

  1. Discuss the terms of your divorce with the other party to determine what type of case you have. The steps to go through differ for contested and uncontested dissolution of marriage.
  2. Gather financial information about your income and joint and separate property. It will be needed during financial disclosure and resolution of property division, child maintenance, and spousal support issues.
  3. Complete the dissolution of marriage forms necessary for your case. Their list varies for disputed and agreed-upon divorces, so you must first define the required papers and prepare them according to the current legal guidelines.
  4. If necessary, file temporary orders with the court to determine the terms of child custody and use of joint property during the process. If you cannot settle them on your own, you need to ask the judge to decide on these matters.
  5. Attend the parenting program; it is among the mandatory Wisconsin divorce requirements if you have minor children. Most courts order spouses to go through family counseling before a final hearing is scheduled.

So that your case is not postponed and you do not have to resubmit papers to the court, make sure to follow all the rules and steps specified in the Wisconsin divorce law.

What Are the Divorce Laws in Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Statute, Chapter 767, serves as the main divorce law in Wisconsin that guides the dissolutionment of marriage process. What are the divorce laws in Wisconsin that you certainly need to know?

Before filing with the clerk’s office, you should become familiar with the following Wisconsin divorce laws:

  1. To start the process, either spouse must be a state resident for at least six months and live within a county where they submit dissolution of marriage forms for no less than thirty days (WI Stat § 767.301).
  2. Divorce law in Wisconsin defines two no-fault grounds for marriage dissolution. These can be an irretrievable breakdown of marriage or a breakdown of marital relationship, as detailed in WI Stat §767.315.
  3. The case may be extended for 30 to 60 days for parties to attend family counseling if one of the spouses or the judge believes reconciliation is possible (WI Stat §767.315.2).
  4. Before being able to get a divorce decree, spouses must complete a mandatory waiting period required by Wisconsin divorce laws. It lasts for 120 days and begins either when the parties to an uncontested dissolution of marriage submit a joint petition with the court or when the defendant gets a summons that the plaintiff has filed a lawsuit (WI Stat §767.335).
  5. The court grants a dissolution of marriage if the parties have fulfilled all the requirements in accordance with the current legislation. After a divorce decree is issued, neither ex-spouse can register a new marriage in less than 6 months (WI Stat §767.35(3)).

If you meet the divorce requirements, have agreed with your spouse on the divorce terms, and want to save time on independent preparation, our online service is ready to help you. You will receive a set of papers you need in a few days and will be able to file with the court on your own, reducing your expenses on legal representation.


The Wisconsin Statute is the main legal document that establishes the guidelines and conditions for terminating marriage in the state.

Wisconsin divorce laws recognize only two no-fault reasons you can state to get a marriage dissolution. Adultery, abuse, or any other fault-based grounds are currently not accepted in the state.

When dividing joint property, the court usually follows the principle of equal distribution since Wisconsin is a community property state.

There is no mandatory separation period if both parties confirm the marriage breakup. However, the separation plays a role if only one spouse indicates that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In such a case, a couple should live apart for at least 12 months, or the court will need to consider other factors before granting a divorce.

You may file for annulment only if specific conditions took place at the time of marriage registration, such as inability to consent, impotency of either party if the other spouse did not know about it, underage of either spouse and absence of parental or guardian consent, or prohibition of marriage by law.