Not every divorce needs to be a contentious process in which the spouses are battling over issues such as alimony, child custody, child support, and who gets certain assets. Sometimes a pair of Wisconsin spouses agree on the terms of their divorce, and the process flows relatively smoothly as an uncontested divorce. When this happens, they may file a joint petition for a divorce. At Reddin & Singer, Milwaukee divorce lawyer Terese J. Singer is familiar with the process of pursuing an uncontested divorce in Wisconsin, including filing a joint petition. Let her put her substantial experience and knowledge to work for you in evaluating your options and developing a strategy that allows you to move forward from your marriage with dignity and confidence.When a Joint Petition May be Appropriate
When just one spouse files for a divorce, they need to arrange for service of process on the other spouse. This can lead to complications and procedural challenges if service is not properly executed. Filing a joint petition can provide a way around this complication if both your spouse and you have reached the conclusion that a divorce is the right way forward. If you are filing a joint petition, both your spouse and you will sign the divorce petition, and neither of you needs to arrange for service of process on the other.
Filing a joint petition does not exempt you from the residency requirements. You still need to have lived in Wisconsin for at least six months and in the county where you are filing for the divorce for at least 30 days. If you are at all unsure about whether you meet these requirements, you can consult an attorney to verify that you are taking the right steps.
A joint petition will be appropriate only when a divorce is uncontested. This is a simplified form of divorce, which can be a useful way to save costs and avoid emotional turmoil if you can reach an agreement with your spouse. If you do not have children, or if you have not been married for a long time, it may be easier to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. However, it is possible to pursue an uncontested divorce even if issues such as child custody and visitation, child support, and property division are involved, assuming that the spouses are able to agree on them. Attorney Terese J. Singer can help you determine whether you are likely to reach an agreement with your spouse, such that an uncontested divorce may be available.
Once you have filed the joint petition and the other necessary forms, such as a financial disclosure statement, you may or may not need to attend a hearing. This hearing probably will involve only a confirmation that you both want a divorce, that you meet the residency requirements, and that each of you understands the terms of your agreement. If the judge does not ask for a hearing in your case, you still will need to wait at least 120 days from the filing of your joint petition until your divorce is granted.
If you are largely in agreement but just have one or two issues on which you do not agree, you may want to consider seeking assistance from a mediator or a counselor who can help you try to resolve those issues and avoid a contested divorce. Otherwise, you likely will need to proceed with a contested divorce, which is a much more complex and time-consuming process that can eventually lead to a trial.Discuss a Potential Joint Petition for Divorce With a Milwaukee Attorney
If you believe that you have reached or can reach an agreement with your spouse on all of the issues of your divorce, a joint petition and an uncontested divorce may be a useful way to save a great deal of stress. Having advised and represented people throughout Wisconsin for decades, Terese J. Singer understands what you are going through and will listen carefully to your story. If you need assistance with filling out any of the documents related to your divorce, such as a financial disclosure statement, she can guide you through that process one step at a time. Reddin & Singer represents people in Milwaukee, West Bend, Waukesha, Mequon, Racine, and other areas of Milwaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Racine Counties. Call us at (414) 271-6400 or contact us online for a free consultation.