By Carlos Gamino

If you’re like many people contemplating divorce, you’ve heard of couples who have split quickly – and you’ve heard of couples whose divorces have taken years to complete. So how long does it take to get a divorce in Wisconsin, and do they all take the same amount of time? This guide walks you through the Wisconsin divorce timeline so you know what to expect.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Wisconsin?

Generally speaking, a typical divorce – one that doesn’t involve high assets or a lot of controversy – typically takes between six months and a year to complete. That doesn’t mean yours will fit neatly into that timeline, though. Every case is different, which means yours could take several months to a year (or more).

The absolute minimum amount of time is 120 days. The state requires you to go through a mandatory “cooling-off” period to help ensure that you really do want to go through with your divorce. During this time, you can’t have a final hearing; that prevents people from divorcing if they aren’t really positive that divorce is the best choice.

Related: What to know before you divorce your spouse

How Long Does it Take to File Divorce Paperwork?

If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to know that Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state. That means only one of you has to agree to the divorce, and you don’t need to point the finger at anyone in order for a court to dissolve your marriage. All you have to do is let the court know that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”

Your attorney can fill out and file your divorce papers as soon as you’re ready. After the papers are filed with the court, the mandatory 120-day cooling-off period begins. During that time, your spouse will receive the paperwork and have the chance to respond.

Related: 10 tips for surviving divorce

How Long Does it Take to Finalize a Divorce in Wisconsin?

The court can’t finalize a divorce in Wisconsin until after the 120-day cooling-off period is over. (There are some circumstances in which the court can waive the cooling-off period, but they’re rare.)

In order to finalize your divorce, you must have a marital settlement agreement. The agreement has to be signed by both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and you must also have filed financial disclosure statements with the court. (Your attorney will do that for you.) You must also complete any court-mandated mediation or parenting classes before the judge in your case will finalize your divorce.

If you and your spouse agree on everything, including tough matters like child custody, your divorce will be finalized much faster than it would be if you disagreed. That’s because couples who can’t reach an agreement have to wait for time slots to open up on the court’s calendar – and they have to come up with evidence that supports their own positions.

Do You Need to Talk to a Wisconsin Lawyer About Divorcing Quickly?

If you’re thinking about divorcing your spouse, you should consult with an attorney. Attorneys who are looking out for their clients’ best interests want to get divorces over with quickly, with the best possible outcomes for their clients. We’ll be happy to schedule a free consultation for you – just call our office at 414-383-6700 now. We’ll talk to you about your situation and give you case-specific legal advice.

Attorney Carlos Gamino