When you and your husband or wife is ready to separate, there are two legal options: legal separation and divorce. Either option can leave you with a host of questions; we’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions about filing for legal separation (and divorce) in Wisconsin. If you have any more questions or questions specific to your situation, schedule a consultation with a local and experienced attorney.
What is the difference between a legal separation and a divorce?
A divorce indicates that a marriage is “irretrievably broken,” which indicates that there is no chance of reconciliation. Either party may legally marry after a divorce.
Under a legal separation, the court finds that the marriage is “broken” and there is no final divorce decree. The legal separation can be set aside any time in the event of reconciliation.
One of the main commonalities of both a legal separation and a divorce is that both initiate discussions of child placement and financial considerations between both parties.
Does my husband/wife get notified of consultations and meetings I have with an attorney?
No. All consultations and meetings are kept confidential, as is all information conveyed with attorneys and staff.
How can I legally separate from my husband or wife in Wisconsin?
Either spouse can file for legal separation. If both spouses file for legal separation or divorce, papers are not served to the other spouse as it would be if one party filed. From date of filing, there is a 120 day waiting period until the final judgment (same as a divorce).
How does child custody get worked out?
If you have children, working out a schedule for child placement is part of the proceedings. Know these child custody terms to help you as you work through the process of deciding child placement and child custody matters.
How can we change a filed legal separation case to a divorce?
Because proceedings are similar, the change from a legal separation to a divorce can be made with a written request.
Does living apart qualify as legal separation?
No. Living in separate homes, dividing finances, and paying separate bills is not a legal separation only a physical one. To be legally separated or divorced, there must be a filing.
Can we use the same attorney to save money? What is the cost of a legal separation or divorce?
The cost for each legal separation is different, depending on the specific circumstances of the parties involved. Both spouses cannot use the same attorney for the proceedings because of ethics. Often, you can schedule a initial consultation about your legal separation or divorce with an attorney, where you can ask questions and your attorney can get information on the case (here’s how to get the most out of that initial meeting with your attorney).