What Happens in a Contested Divorce in Wisconsin
Divorce is never an easy process, especially when it becomes contested. A contested divorce occurs when spouses cannot agree on significant issues such as property division, child custody, child support, or spousal support. In Wisconsin, if a divorce case is contested, it will proceed to the court for resolution. This article will discuss what happens in a contested divorce in Wisconsin and answer some frequently asked questions about the process.
1. What is the first step in a contested divorce in Wisconsin?
The first step is filing a Petition for Divorce with the circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The petition outlines the grounds for divorce and the issues in dispute.
2. How is property divided in a contested divorce?
Wisconsin follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that the court will divide property and assets fairly, but not necessarily equally. Factors such as each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, earning capacity, and overall financial situation will be considered.
3. How does child custody get determined in a contested divorce?
In Wisconsin, the court makes custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. Factors such as the child’s wishes, the parents’ mental and physical health, and the child’s adjustment to their home, school, or community will be evaluated.
4. Can child support be modified in a contested divorce?
Yes, child support can be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances, such as a change in income or the child’s needs. A spouse can file a motion to modify child support with the court.
5. What happens if one spouse refuses to pay spousal support in a contested divorce?
If a spouse refuses to pay court-ordered spousal support, the other spouse can file a motion for contempt. The court can enforce the spousal support order by imposing penalties on the non-paying spouse.
6. How long does a contested divorce take in Wisconsin?
The length of a contested divorce varies depending on the complexity of the issues involved and how willing the spouses are to negotiate. On average, it can take several months to a year or more to finalize a contested divorce.
7. Can a contested divorce be settled outside of court?
Yes, spouses can reach a settlement agreement through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce. If they can agree on all issues, they can avoid a trial and submit the agreement to the court for approval.
8. What happens if a settlement cannot be reached?
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. Each spouse will present their arguments and evidence, and the judge will make a final decision on the contested issues.
9. Is it possible to appeal a court’s decision in a contested divorce?
Yes, it is possible to appeal a court’s decision in a contested divorce. However, appeals are generally based on legal errors made by the court, not dissatisfaction with the outcome. It is important to consult with an attorney to determine if there are grounds for an appeal.
In conclusion, a contested divorce in Wisconsin involves filing a petition, dividing property, determining child custody and support, and potentially going to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. The process can be lengthy and emotionally challenging, but with the help of experienced divorce attorneys, spouses can navigate through the complexities and protect their interests.