Wisconsin Grounds for Divorce: Do You Need a Reason?

Categories: divorce


Wausau Attorney Assisting Divorcing Couples

If you are ready to get divorced, you undoubtedly have your reasons. Whether your spouse cheated on you, you are a victim of domestic violence, you and your spouse have grown apart over time, or you are struggling through any of the other countless life scenarios in which people choose to get divorced – you haven’t taken the decision lightly, and you know exactly why you are ready to move on.

But, from a legal perspective, does your reason matter? Or, more importantly, is your reason “enough” to get divorced? Fortunately, Wisconsin law makes this part easy: You do not have to have any specific reason to file for divorce.

Wisconsin Is a “No-Fault” Divorce State

Traditionally, most states have required spouses to prove “marital fault” before they could file for divorce. As a result, the grounds to file for divorce were often limited; in many cases, spouses struggled to prove their grounds even when they desperately needed to separate from a violent or abusive spouse.

Due to this issue, over time, many states have transitioned to the concept of “no-fault” divorce. Wisconsin is one such state. Under Wisconsin’s no-fault divorce law:

“A court shall grant a judgment of divorce . . . if all of the following conditions are met: (a) The requirements of this chapter as to residence and attendance at an educational program . . . have been complied with [and] the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken.”

In Wisconsin, there are three primary ways to obtain a no-fault divorce:

1. If the Spouses Agree to Get Divorced…

The first option is that the spouses agree to get divorced. If the spouses agree that their marriage is irretrievably broken, then – following a hearing – the court will grant the parties’ petition for divorce.

2. If the Spouses Do Not Agree to Get Divorced…

If only one spouse wishes to get divorced, upon filing of the divorce petition the court can either: (i) make a determination that the marriage is irretrievably broken upon considering all relevant factors; or, (ii) if it finds that there is a “reasonable prospect of reconciliation,” continue the divorce proceedings for 30 to 60 days and suggest or order counseling. Following this 30 to 60-day waiting period, either spouse can state under oath that the marriage remains irretrievably broken, after which the court will make a finding of irreconcilability.

3. If the Spouses Have Lived Apart for 12 Months or Longer…

If you and your spouse have voluntarily lived apart for at least 12 consecutive months before you file for divorce, then the law states that the court must find your marriage to be irretrievably broken.

Learn more about filing for a “no-fault” divorce in Wisconsin.

Disclaimer: This Article Is Not Legal Advice.

Never rely on an article for legal advice as the law frequently changes, information may not be accurate, there may be exceptions to a rule, and reliance may be detrimental. Always consult one of our experienced attorneys for competent, current, and accurate legal advice.

Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. | Divorce Lawyers in Wausau, WI

The divorce lawyers at Crooks, Low & Connell, S.C. bring decades of experience to representing spouses in Wisconsin “no-fault” divorces. To schedule a confidential initial consultation at our offices in Wausau, please call (715) 842-2291 or inquire online today.