How Long Does a Divorce Take in Wisconsin?

If you and your spouse want to start a divorce process in Wisconsin, the first concern you may have is the average timelines of the marriage dissolution. Some common questions that any pre-divorced couple may start to ask are, “How long does a divorce take in Wisconsin?,” “What factors affect the process duration?,” “How long do you have to be legally separated for a divorce in Wisconsin?,” etc.

The divorce timeline in the state depends mostly on the mandatory Wisconsin divorce waiting period, the disagreements between parties on divorce-related issues, the court workload, etc. The contested case can easily exceed a year.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the average timeframes for receiving a divorce decree. In case you file for an uncontested marriage dissolution, with our service, you can speed up its first step – document preparation. We can help you fill out the forms required for your specific case while you can focus on other aspects of the divorce process. 

How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in Wisconsin?

The average duration of an uncontested divorce in Wisconsin is usually around 4-6 months. When answering the question “How long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin?”, it’s worth mentioning that the divorce timeline for an agreed-upon marriage dissolution mostly depends on the cooling-off period. According to WI Stat § 767.335 (2017), there is a mandatory 120-day waiting period from filing a joint petition or serving a respondent till the court can start reviewing the case.

Once it has passed, the court can schedule a hearing. Sometimes, the divorce process can be delayed due to the high workload of the court and the inability to set the final hearing date right away. 

So, how long does an uncontested divorce take in Wisconsin? It can be finalized as soon as in 4 months. In a simple divorce with the pre-agreed marriage dissolution terms and Marital Settlement concluded, there may be no need for a divorcing couple to turn to a lawyer. Spouses do not need to align with the attorneys’ schedules, saving time significantly. Shortly after the cooling-off period is up, the couple can get their marriage dissolved and receive the final decree from the court.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Wisconsin?

The contested marriage dissolution in Wisconsin takes from six months to two years, on average. Unlike in uncontested cases where the divorce timeline mainly depends on the waiting period, the contested procedure usually requires more time to resolve the issues spouses can’t agree on. So, when looking for an answer to: “How long does a contested divorce take in Wisconsin?”, there are several factors to consider.

The first one is the necessity to hire a lawyer. Involving attorneys is usually mandatory in complicated divorce cases, and spouses will have to adjust to the timetables of their legal representatives. It can greatly prolong the marriage dissolution process. 

The second factor is the number of issues to regulate, like property division, alimony, child custody and support, etc. Commonly, the court cannot handle all the disagreements at one hearing. There will likely be several trials, and there are chances of rescheduling, increasing the process duration.

Another aspect that adds up more time is involving other specialists in the case. For example, for property evaluation or creating a parenting plan, you may be required to hire other experts besides an attorney. They also need time to do their part of work, and you should adjust to their schedule.

Thus, deciding on the divorce terms in a contested marriage dissolution requires much patience and time.

How Long Does a Divorce Case Stay Open in Wisconsin?

As every marriage dissolution case is unique, there is no specific timeframe within which it can stay open. On average, the process can last from four months to one or several years. The timeline always depends on the type of divorce since uncontested and contested marriage dissolutions have different procedures to follow. 

The divorce process starts when spouses file documents for divorce with the court. Then goes a mandatory Wisconsin divorce waiting period that can be waived only under very limited circumstances, like a danger to the health and life of a spouse or children. The case is considered closed when the couple receives a final decree.

The divorce timeline in Wisconsin greatly depends on factors like:

  • The presence of minor children. The case with minor kids will likely be open longer if a couple cannot agree on different aspects of parenting and needs the court to make the decisions on custody and support for them. Also, parents may be ordered by the court to attend parenting education programs.
  • Property division. The longer the spouses are together, the more property they likely possess. The Wisconsin law dictates that the marital assets should be divided equally, and it can take quite a time to determine their value and decide on the split, especially if there are conflicts between spouses.
  • Level of cooperation between parties. If spouses cannot come to an agreement and constantly take part in court battles, it is clear that the divorce case will stay open longer, involving numerous hearings.

So, the timelines of the case are primarily affected by its type – contested or uncontested. If the parties can agree beforehand, they can significantly shorten the overall divorce duration.

When Is a Divorce Final in Wisconsin?

The divorce process is final when the judge approves the Marital Settlement or makes decisions on the case if the parties cannot agree and signs the divorce decree. It happens on the final hearing, which can be scheduled after the Wisconsin divorce waiting period of 120 days is over.

So, how long does it take for a divorce to be finalized in WI? On top of the cooling-off period, the timeline will depend on the case complexity and the number of divorce issues to regulate. A couple that goes through a contested marriage dissolution will need help from lawyers and other professionals. Aligning with their schedules and attending several hearings will add up to the duration of the divorce.

Summing up, the divorce timeline for uncontested cases ranges from 4-6 months, while for contested ones, it can be from half a year to several years or more. The best decision for spouses to receive a fast resolution is to agree on all issues and file for an uncontested divorce together. A couple starting an agreed-upon dissolution does not necessarily need to involve a lawyer and can prepare the documents online. With our service, you can get your divorce papers filled out online for a reasonable price within a few days.