The first step of divorce is filing for divorce. The second step, serving divorce papers, can leave you on one of two sides: the spouse responsible for serving divorce papers or the spouse being served divorce papers. We’ve assisted spouses on both sides of the situation; that’s why we’ve put together these tips for anyone dealing with divorce papers in Wisconsin (the specifics can change from state to state and time to time, so be sure to contact a local attorney for advice applicable to your situation).
When should divorce papers be served?
When a divorce is filed, divorce papers (the Summons and Petition for Divorce) should be served to a spouse within 90 days. If needed, the judge can grant an extension (this decision is up the court and can be denied as well).
What should I do after being served divorce papers in Wisconsin?
Even if a divorce is not wanted, the spouse who is served divorce papers must respond within 20 days. The Response and Counterclaim should be filed in court, with copies sent to the spouse and the spouse’s lawyer. If the divorce is wanted, the spouse served papers should file a counterclaim.
In Wisconsin, a divorce does not need to be agreed upon by both spouses to be granted. Because this is a no-fault state, a divorce can be granted if the court deems the marriage is irretrievably broken.
One or both spouses does not need to retain a lawyer to proceed. It is advised that a spouse meet with a lawyer to decide which option (lawyer or no lawyer) is best for their specific situation. A lawyer can also list other alternate divorce options other than a traditional litigation divorce. Depending on the situation, a mediation or collaborative divorce may cost less and be best for the situation. If the spouse is considering a mediation or collaborative divorce, choose a lawyer who offers these alternate divorce options.