15850 W. Bluemound Rd. Suite 304 • Brookfield, WI 53005

15850 W. Bluemound Rd. Suite 304 • Brookfield, WI 53005 • 262-788-5335

How Do I File for Divorce in Metro Milwaukee?

  • When you know your marriage is headed for divorce, it can be overwhelming. Not only are you dealing with a host of painful emotions, but you will also have to determine how to initiate and manage the legal process. Without the proper guidance, you run the risk of making choices that can negatively impact your life for years to come. If you live in the Metro Milwaukee area and are considering divorce, the first thing you may be asking yourself is: How do I file for divorce in Metro Milwaukee?


Things to Know Before You File Your Metro Milwaukee Divorce

Depending on your situation, you may have reached your decision to divorce over a long period of time or practically overnight. Regardless, when you know you are ready to be divorced, you may feel as if you want to get things started and completed as quickly as possible. However, once the process starts, it can take on a life of its own. Therefore, before filing your Metro Milwaukee divorce, it’s important to consider certain issues.
  • Metro Milwaukee Divorce Attorney: First and foremost, have you consulted with an experienced Metro Milwaukee divorce attorney about your case? Although it may seem straightforward, divorce can be incredibly complex. Some divorces can start out amicably and then suddenly become contentious. Before you file, it’s important to know the facts. By talking with an experienced metro Milwaukee divorce attorney, you can learn more about the Wisconsin divorce process and what to expect going forward.
  • Gathering Divorce Documents: In many cases, it will be necessary to gather important documents and details before the case begins. These may include real estate deeds, birth certificates, financial account statements, tax returns, pay stubs, and other important information. It may be harder to get these items once you serve the other party. Your Metro Milwaukee divorce attorney can help you identify what kinds of documents you should gather and prepare before filing for divorce.
  • Potential Agreement: Not every divorce will involve former spouses disagreeing and battling it out in court. In many divorces both sides agree on some or all of their divorce terms. Before you file your case, it’s important to assess the likelihood that your ex will fight with you during the divorce. Your attorney can review this possibility with you and help you understand your options.
  • Temporary Orders: You will also need to decide if you need to have temporary orders during the pendency of your case. Once you have consulted with an attorney, you will know more about the types of orders that you may want to get in place at the outset of your divorce.
  • Residential Options: Telling your spouse you want to divorce or having them served with a divorce petition may come as a complete shock to them. Even if your ex suspected things were not going well, they might be upset when you initiate the process. Before doing so, you may need to make arrangements for you to live separately. You should consider how you think your ex will take the news and plan for your respective living arrangements accordingly.

Where to File for Divorce in Metro Milwaukee

  • To file for divorce in Wisconsin, one or both parties must have resided in the state for at least six months and for at least thirty days in their filing county. Therefore, even if you and your ex are Wisconsin residents, if you moved into metro Milwaukee less than 30 days ago, you will have to wait to file there. Once you meet the residency requirements, you will have your attorney prepare the proper divorce documents and file them with your county’s circuit court. It’s important to note that although Metro Milwaukee includes multiple counties, you must file in your county of residence.


How to File for Divorce in Metro Milwaukee

  • One of the first decisions you will make is how you intend to file. If you and your spouse agree on the divorce, you may be filing jointly. However, you may be in the position of needing to file the required forms on your own. Once you know how you wish to file, your attorney will file a summons and petition for divorce with the Metro Milwaukee circuit court in your home county. If you have minor children, you will also need to develop and file a proposed parenting plan with the court if you cannot agree on custody and placement terms.
  • Another issue that you will need to determine is whether you and your ex need and can agree upon temporary orders. If you cannot agree on issues such as the use of the marital residence, child custody, placement, and support, spousal maintenance, household bills, and how your other property will be used, you will probably need to schedule a temporary orders hearing with the divorce court. If you need temporary orders when you file for divorce, your attorney will also file an Order to Show Cause and Affidavit for Temporary Order.
  • All documents you file in your divorce will need to be served on or delivered to your ex. After you serve your ex, they may also file responsive pleadings. You will also need to file proof of service with your county’s circuit court clerk. Once everything has been filed and your ex has been served, there is a 120-day waiting period before you can schedule a hearing and complete your divorce.


Contact An Experienced Milwaukee Divorce Attorney

  • Wisconsin divorces can be complex, and several issues can arise while your case is pending. Therefore, it’s vital that you have the advice of an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney during the process. Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is a trained Wisconsin attorney, Collaborative Attorney, and Mediator. She has extensive experience assisting clients before, during, and after Metro Milwaukee divorce cases. She can help you understand your options and find the right resources.  If you are planning on filing for divorce in Metro Milwaukee, call us today to set up a consultation so we can take a “first look” at your situation.