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Wisconsin Divorce Laws

As with marriage laws and procedures, states may regulate the manner in which married couples may get divorced. In Wisconsin, divorce laws include residency for 30 days in the county in which you file in and six months in the state of Wisconsin, and the court will not finalize a divorce decree until after 120 days after service of process. Wisconsin also recognizes "no-fault" divorce, on the grounds of "irretrievable breakdown." This is similar in nature to the phrase "irreconcilable differences" used in other states.

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Divorce Laws

States tend to handle divorce differently. The main provisions of Wisconsin's legal divorce laws are listed in the table below.

Code Section

 § 767.301 et seq. of the Wisconsin Statutes

Residency Requirements

Must be a resident of the county you file in for at least 30 days and six months in the state of Wisconsin

Waiting Period

120 days after the service of process

'No-Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

If both parties do not agree the marriage is irretrievably broken and have not lived apart for 12 months, the court may suggest counseling and set for rehearing in 30-60 days

Other Grounds for Divorce


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

No-Fault Divorce Laws

As we stated above, Wisconsin is one of many states that offers what is known as a “no-fault" divorce. No-fault divorce means that you do not have to prove that your spouse did anything wrong. Instead, you just have to give any reason that the state honors the divorce.

In Wisconsin, the reason is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken," which is a legal phrase for you and your spouse don't get along and your marital relationship cannot be repaired. Wisconsin also has alternatives to the standard divorce, such as an annulment or legal separation. If you have a family, you should be aware of Wisconsin child custody laws, as well as Wisconsin laws pertaining to child support guidelines and child support enforcement.

Get Legal Help with Your Divorce in Wisconsin

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally and legally difficult process, but you might find that consulting with an attorney can ease the strain of dealing with both the divorce paperwork and your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you're thinking about getting a divorce, or  have already begun the process, you may want to contact a skilled divorce lawyer in Wisconsin who can answer any questions you may have about the state's divorce laws and guide you through the divorce process

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