- Going through a divorce often means having to make significant changes to your life. During your case, you may have to deal with issues such as finding a new job and home. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to relocate to a new city or state before your divorce is final. If you are thinking about moving away during divorce, you will want to know: Can I move while my Wisconsin divorce is pending?
Residency and Wisconsin Divorce
- In Wisconsin, to file for divorce, a party must have lived in the state for a least six months and in the county where they file for at least thirty days prior to filing. However, both spouses don’t need to live in the same state and county for the divorce to be filed. As long as one spouse meets the Wisconsin residency requirements, either spouse can file for divorce here. In general, when there is an active divorce case, and the parties don’t have minor children, either person can move out of the community or state while the case is pending. However, when kids are involved, there are certain rules regarding where parents can move with them during a divorce.
Moving with Kids During a Wisconsin Divorce
- When parents of minor children divorce, how they will make decisions and share time with their kids will be part of the case. In many instances, once a divorce begins, the parties will share decision-making (custody) and time (placement) with their kids according to a temporary order until their case is completed. Generally, once a divorce is filed, parents are expected to maintain their same residences while sharing placement time. However, under Wisconsin law, if a parent with placement rights wants to relocate more than 100 miles away from the other parent’s residence with the child, they will have to file a motion asking permission from the court before doing so, giving the other parent time to file an objection to the motion. The court will schedule a hearing on the matter, after which it will decide if the moving parent’s motion will be granted or denied. Practically speaking, a parent may need to move with their children to accept work or be closer to relatives who can assist with child care. Therefore, whether or not a divorce court will permit one parent to move out of the county or state with their kids will depend on the parties’ circumstances and what it determines is the children’s best interests.
Should I Wait to Move Until My Wisconsin Divorce is Final?
- Depending on your situation, living away from where your case is pending may or may not present any major difficulties. For instance, if you and your ex agree on most of your divorce terms and don’t expect to need a hearing over disputed issues, not being in the area may be fine. On the other hand, it could be in your best interests to remain nearby until your case is finalized. For example, if you and your ex disagree over various issues that will require court hearings to resolve, it may be more convenient not to have to travel. This can be particularly important when hearings are set with little notice or when you and your ex disagree on how to divide property that is located in Wisconsin.
- If you do decide to move away from the county where your divorce is pending, depending on the court, you may be able to attend hearings via Zoom. Some Wisconsin circuit courts, such as those in the Milwaukee area, have been allowing parties to divorce by affidavit rather than coming to court. When parties divorce by affidavit, they attest in writing to the essential facts the court will need to know to grant their divorce. The written affidavits of one or both parties can be presented to the court for the judge to consider without the attesting party being present. If the judge determines that the legal requirements have been met, they can grant the divorce without one or both of the parties appearing in court.
Consult with an Experienced Wisconsin Family Law Attorney
- If you are considering filing for or are already involved in a divorce in Metro Milwaukee, it’s essential that you consult with an experienced family law attorney. Your counsel can review your circumstances and provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about moving and the other aspects of your case.
- Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience helping clients assess their situations and consider their options during and after Metro Milwaukee divorce cases. She understands the complexities of going through the divorce process and can help you identify the best solutions for your circumstances. Come in, and let us take a “first look” at your situation so you can figure out your next steps. Please call us today to set up a time to meet.