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

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

Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Wisconsin Divorce?

You may have met someone who claims that they successfully represented themselves in their divorce case and prepared all of the necessary documents without the assistance of an attorney. The part you seldom hear about is what happens to their lives later after their DIY divorce is final. If you are trying to decide whether or not to get a lawyer, you will want to know: Why do I need an attorney for my Wisconsin divorce?

On the surface, it may appear that getting divorced is a simple matter of telling a judge that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” and splitting up your possessions. However, divorce, like the people involved, is not one-dimensional. This is a complex process during which you will be making decisions that could impact you for the rest of your life. These choices can affect critical areas such as your future financial well-being, where you live, and your relationship with your children. Without representation, parties risk being placed at a significant disadvantage during negotiations and having to return to court to clarify issues.  And in some instances, decisions made cannot be undone.


Divorce can be one of the most financially devastating events in a person’s life. The decisions you make during your case can directly impact your ability to financially recover immediately and in the future. Often parties enter into agreements during divorce about how they will divide their joint property and debts. You will need to use specific language and documents to divide certain assets and protect your interests. For instance, you may need a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to divide retirement. Further, if you are involved in a military divorce, you will need to use specific terminology in your final divorce documents to receive certain benefits and apportion retirement. You or your ex may also be ordered to pay spousal or child support. To make informed financial decisions, you will need to understand all of your options. When you have an experienced family law attorney advocating for your interests, you can help ensure that you get a complete picture of your finances and choices.

Language and Terms

On the surface, the language in a divorce document may seem straightforward and unambiguous. However, when vocabulary and terms are used in this context, they don’t always have ordinary meanings. Instead, the wording used may have implications under the law that the party or parties fail to recognize. Making certain that the correct language is in your divorce documents is essential to protecting your interests.

Parties may also inadvertently include contradictory terms in their divorce. For example, suppose you include language that allows you to decide where your children reside. While, at the same time, another section of the document states that your ex has the equal right to make this decision. The conflicting terms will make it difficult to determine which parent or parents have this custodial right. When terms conflict, you and your ex may have to return to court to modify divorce documents or seek formal clarification from a judge.

Other Benefits of Having an Attorney

When you work with an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney, you can get advice based on their knowledge of the law and the court. Family lawyers are familiar with the court processes and requirements. They also know other important community professionals who may be required for your case. For instance, you may need to go to divorce mediation or use a child psychologist. An experienced family law attorney will be familiar with reputable local professionals who may be of assistance.

Divorce impacts multiple aspects of a person’s life. You may need advice and services before, during, and after your case. A dedicated Wisconsin family law attorney can help you prepare for your case, advise you during the process, and help you connect with the resources you require throughout the process.

Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has extensive experience assisting clients during and after divorce and can help you evaluate your case and determine your next steps. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.