The cheapest and easiest to complete divorces in Wisconsin occur when a couple jointly petitions for divorce. If there are children involved, there may be a higher fee to file for divorce, but the process will be less expensive or unpredictable than a situation in which a judge must resolve areas of dispute between two spouses.
The expense of filing a petition for divorce, either jointly or singly, varies across Wisconsin’s counties. Depending on your area, you may be required to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 to begin the divorce process. If one person is filing a divorce complaint, their spouse must be officially served with a copy of the complaint against them. There may be an additional fee charged by a sheriff’s office or a process serves for performing this service. People who cannot afford the fee to file for divorce may be able to obtain a waiver that says they are unable to pay.
When a spouse chooses to contest a divorce complaint, they will be charged a separate fee to file an official response. These kinds of expenses will only be charged to one person, which may make determining how much a divorce cost in Wisconsin result in a different budget does for both spouses. Alternately, this expense can be avoided if the spouse agrees to waive their right to dispute the charges. In this case, even couples who have not jointly filed for divorce agree to find a mutually satisfactory agreement covering such areas of dispute as:
• Child custody arrangements
• Alimony payments
• Child support payments
• Visitation rights
• Division of shared property
Some couples may not be able to reach an agreement without the help of a neutral third party. Court-supervised informal meetings will be held to offer free legal advice that can help resolve any differences. Couples may also choose to retain the services of an attorney with experience in divorce mediation who can help create a legally binding document to submit to the court for ratification. This will help guard against the possibility of a judge’s verdict that is unsatisfying to both parties and ensure for a more accurate estimate of how much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin.
If it becomes clear no agreement can be reached and a judge must render a decision, one or both parties may wish to obtain the private services of a divorce lawyer. If you decide you need the help of private legal counsel, make sure to receive a detailed estimate of the expense you can be expected to incur and confirm that they are within your fiscal means. This will significantly add your expenses when estimating how much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin.
In awarding child support payments, judges are free to take into consideration any factor they may consider relevant, including:
• The child’s best interests
• Both parents’ employability and assets
• The standard of living enjoyed by the child during the marriage
No matter how comprehensively you plan a budget when determining how much does a divorce cost in Wisconsin, a judge will always have the final say.