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Filing a Divorce Petition and Response in Wisconsin

Posted on in Family Law

Milwaukee divorce lawyer, divorce process, divorce petition, file for divorce, divorce summonsPeople get divorced every day. Yet despite the practice being common in the United States, many people are unfamiliar with the steps that must be followed and the legal obligations that must be met.

If you are considering divorce , the first step you will need to take is to file a petition for divorce. If your spouse has filed a petition for divorce, you will need to file a response. Consider the following procedures for completing these initial steps of the divorce process in Wisconsin.

File a Petition for Divorce

In Wisconsin, spouses may file for divorce either jointly or separately, and the forms which must be filed differ depending on whether they have minor children or not. If spouses file together, they will file either a Joint Petition With Minor Children or a Joint Petition Without Minor Children.

If spouses agree on issues such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance, they can file a Stipulation for Temporary Order. If they do not agree on any or all of these issues, however, they can file an Affidavit to Show Cause and Request or Hearing for Temporary Order, which asks for a hearing to make a temporary decision for how these matters will be handled while the divorce is pending.

If a spouse is filing for divorce alone, he or she will need to file either a Petition With Minor Children or a Petition Without Minor Children. Additionally, he or she will file a Summons With Minor Children or Summons Without Minor Children to notify the other spouse of the divorce action. This summons must be served to the other spouse within 90 days, either by giving him or her the forms directly, sending the forms through an attorney, or having a sheriff’s department or process server serve the spouse with the forms. Upon service, the other spouse should sign an Affidavit of Service to show proof of service.

If someone is unable to locate his or her spouse in order to serve a divorce summons, then he or she must publish the summons in the local newspaper in the county where the spouse lives, or where his or her last known address was located. This can be done by filing a Publication Summons and bringing this summons to the newspaper. The newspaper will publish the summons once a week for three consecutive weeks. Once the summons has been published, the Publication Summons should be mailed to the spouse, and a Publication Affidavit of Mailing should be filed.

Filing a Response

A person who receives a divorce petition and summons from his or her spouse must file a Response and Counterclaim. This allows him or her to either agree to or dispute the claims made in his or her spouse’s petition and request for the court to grant the divorce or dismiss the petition.

If the receiving spouse wishes to request any temporary orders regarding issues such as property division, child custody, child support, or spousal maintenance, he or she can file an Affidavit to Show Cause and Request or Hearing for Temporary Order, and an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Temporary Order must be served to his or her spouse within five days of the hearing which will be held regarding these requests.

Contact a Milwaukee Divorce Attorney

Filing for divorce can be complicated, and mistakes made during this time can result in a number of delays and additional complications. If you are planning to file for divorce, the attorneys of Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you file the correct paperwork and meet your legal requirements while advocating for your best interests throughout the divorce process. Contact a Milwaukee, WI divorce lawyer today at 414-271-1440.


Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP

330 East Kilbourn Avenue
Suite 1170
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-271-1440
Fax: 414-271-7680
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