Helping You Overcome Life’s Most Difficult Legal Challenges

How long is the cooling-off period in a Wisconsin divorce?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Divorce |

In some states, it is possible to finalize a divorce in a matter of days. Other states require a mandatory separation of the spouses that could last for a year before divorce is possible. Wisconsin falls in between those two extremes. The state does not allow for an instantaneous divorce, but there is not a year-long separation required in every case to end a marriage either. Instead, there is a cooling-off period after the filing occurs. The purpose of that cooling-off period is to promote and facilitate spousal reconciliation whenever possible.

Spouses have the option of divorcing after a year-long separation or pursuing a faster no-fault divorce based on a claim of an irretrievably broken marriage. The cooling-off period generally applies to a divorce without a 12-month separation. How long is the waiting period between when someone initially files for divorce and when the Wisconsin courts allow the legal proceedings to move forward?

People need to wait roughly four months

Some people file for divorce after an argument or the discovery of marital misconduct that shocks them. Given enough time to process what happened, they may sometimes find a way to work on their marriage instead of divorcing. The Wisconsin courts try to promote reconciliation whenever possible by requiring at least 120 days between when someone initially files for divorce and when the courts finalize for divorce.

Spouses must wait multiple months to finalize a divorce unless they formally separate for at least a year. In some cases, reconciliation might be a realistic option, and spouses might even decide to draft postnuptial agreements to protect themselves if the marriage does not fully recover.

Other times, spouses can use that cooling-off period as an opportunity to negotiate terms for the divorce. If they can agree on a way to share custody and to divide their marital property, they can potentially move forward with an uncontested divorce that gives them more control over the outcome and potentially costs less than a litigated divorce might.

Understanding the general divorce process in Wisconsin can be beneficial for those in struggling marriages. Spouses who know what the divorce process entails can more effectively navigate divorce proceedings.