Waukesha County

Procedural Checklist for Divorce/Legal Separation

Filing Separately

Below you will find the Procedural Checklist for your specific type of divorce/legal separation. The checklists were designed to be used one step at a time.  If you complete forms or other tasks out of order you are likely to create more work and confusion for yourself.  We STRONGLY suggest that you follow the checklist one step at a time-Read ahead, but do not work ahead.

The services provided by the Court Self-Help Program has been integrated into the Family Division Customer Services.   

Warning:  This checklist was designed for divorces/legal separations in which both parties agree to the terms of the divorce.  If after reviewing the Marital Settlement Agreement, it turns out that you and the other party are not in agreement with most issues, please review the website or call the Family Division to obtain other available options.

Getting Started Filing Separately

Be sure to complete the correct forms for with or without minor children.

 

No Request for Temporary Hearing

(Agree on how to handle the waiting period)

 

Request for Temporary Hearing

(DO NOT agree how to handle the waiting period)


1. 

Complete the
  • Summons
  • Petition
  • Confidential Petition Addendum
  Complete the
  • Summons
  • Petition
  • Confidential Petition Addendum
  • Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause
 

2. 

Make three copies (4 sets total). You can make your own copies in the Family Division for $.25 per page on the coin-operated copier.  Please bring coins and small bills ($1, $5, $10 bills only).

 

3. 

Go to the Family Court Office between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday to file.  The clerk will:

  • Review your forms for completeness
  • Take the original and 3 additional copies
  • Take the  filing fee
  • Assign a court date, if requested
  • Authenticate (uniquely stamp) all copies
  • Keep the original for the court file
  • Label and return the remaining copies to you for distribution.
    • Copy 1: Returned to the Family Court Office with Proof of Service
    • Copy 2: Petitioner (Your copy)
    • Copy 3: Respondent (Other party's copy)

 

Service

4. 

Serve your spouse with the appropriately labeled copy of the divorce/legal separation papers and a blank copy of the Financial Disclosure Statement. See the Service Packet for more information.

 

5. 

After service, file the original proof of service (Affidavit of Service or Admission of Service) and the copy labeled "Return With Proof of Service." Don't forget to keep a copy of the proof of service for your own records and have it "time stamped" by court staff when you file the original.

The Temporary Order/Hearing

6. 

OPTIONAL:Complete this section only if you would like to have an Order signed by a court official that outlines how you and your spouse have agreed to handle the waiting period. If you do not feel your agreement needs to be made a court order, you may skip this section and proceed to the next. 

Complete the Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order.

 

Prepare and take the following items to court on the date of the Temporary Hearing:

  • The original and two additional copies of your completed, signed, and dated Financial Disclosure Statement and required attachments
  • Proof of Service (your copy)
  • A list of disputed issues, explanations of how you want the commissioner to rule on those issues, and why

 

 

7. 

Family Division staff will review your forms for completeness between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

 

 

Go to the Courtroom at least 15 minutes before your court time.   

 

8. 

File the original and three (3) copies of the Stipulation for Temporary Order, Temporary Order and two self-addressed stamped envelopes (one addressed to you and one addressed to the other party) in the Family Court Office.

 

Following the Temporary Hearing, the Commissioner will print and give each party a copy of the Temporary Order, which will remain in effect until the divorce is final or modified by the court. 

 
 

9. 

The court will review the documents and either:

    • Approve and send each party a copy of the signed Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order. It will then become an order of the court.
    • -OR-

  • Not approve and will return the forms to you.

 

   

Completing the Divorce/Legal Separation Process

Before the Pre-Trial Conference:

 

1. 

About 4-6 weeks after filing for divorce/legal separation, the court will send you a court date in the mail on the Notice of Pre-Trial Conference. The date for the Pre-Trial Conference will be no less than 120 days from either the date you filed (if filed jointly) or the date the other party was served (if filed separately) and is the first date on which your divorce/legal separation can be granted. Along with the Notice, you should also receive the:

  • Pre-Trial Order
  • Pre-Trial Checklist
  • If Minor Children, the Brochure and Schedule for the Helping Children Cope With Divorce Seminar.

 

 
 

2. 

If Minor Children, both parties must attend the Helping Children Cope with Divorce Seminar.

 
 

3. 

If filed Separately (if joint filing skip to #5),

  • Complete the Order to Appear form using the Notice of Pre-Trial Conference.  In addition to the Original you will need to make 3 additional copies
  • Go to the Customer Service Window in the Family Court Office to get a Judge's signature
  • Serve the Order To Appear on your spouse. See the Service Packet for more information

 

 
 

4. 

About 4-6 weeks before the date of the Pre-Trial Conference, you should begin completing the following forms:

  • Individually complete the Financial Disclosure Statement and attach the following:
    • Statement reflecting income earned to date for the current year
    • Most recent W-2 statement
    • Information regarding the types and costs of any health insurance policies or plans available to you for the children
  • Together you must complete a Marital Settlement Agreement
  • If minor children, Together you must complete a Proposed Parenting Plan
  • Together you must complete the Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment and Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment

 

 
 

5. 

No later than 3 weeks before the Pre-Trial Conference, you are STRONGLY encouraged to bring your completed forms to the Family Division Office so a customer service representative can review your forms for completeness.  

Take the following with you to the Family Division Office: 

  • Original Financial Disclosure Statement(s) and required attachments
  • Original Marital Settlement Agreement
  • If minor children, Original Proposed Parenting Plan
  • Original Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, & Judgment and Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment
  • If minor children, Helping Children Cope With Divorce Seminar Completion Certificate
  • At least $5.00 and small bills and coins to make copies

 

The Customer Service Representative will:

  • Review the forms for completeness.
  • Direct you to make copies, if you have not already done so. Please bring small bills and coins for use in the coin-operated copier.  If you are confident your paperwork is correct you may copy your documents prior to coming to the Family Court Office.
    • Financial Disclosure Statement with attachments - Original plus two (2) copies.
    • Marital Settlement Agreement - Original plus three (3) copies.
    • If minor children, Proposed Parenting Plan - Original plus three (3) copies.
    • Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law, and Judgment - Original plus three (3) copies.
    • Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment - Original plus three (3) copies.
    • Other documents - Original plus two (2) copies.
  • Direct you to complete the Vital Statistics form. 

 

 
 

6. 

NO LATER than 10 business days before the Pre-Trial Conference you must:

  • File the original Financial Disclosure Statements and required attachments.
  • File the original Marital Settlement Agreement.
  • If minor children, file the original Proposed Parenting Plan
  • File the original Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment
  • File the original Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment

 


The Pre-Trial Conference:

7. 

On the day of the Pre-Trial Conference, go to the assigned courtroom at least 15 minutes before your court time and let the bailiff or court clerk know for which case you are appearing.  If you wish to have other people testify for you, make sure they come to court in person.

When your case is called, go to the front of the room and sit where directed.  Take all your papers and documents with you.

Be prepared to testify under oath and answer questions that may be asked of you by the Court or by the other side.  If you wish to offer written evidence or documents to the court, give the original to the court and copy to the other side.

 

8. 

The Court may either

  • Agree with all the terms of your agreement or make minor changes and grant your divorce at the Pre-Trial Conference.
  • -OR-
  • Set a new Pre-Trial date, schedule the case for trial, or give other instruction.

 

 

9. 

After the judge grants your divorce/legal separation, do not forget there may be several things you must do. A few examples include:

  • change your legal surname with the Department of Motor Vehicle and the Social Security Administration
  • change titles on motor vehicles and other personal property
  • exchange personal property
  • complete Qualified Domestic Relations Orders to separate retirement benefits
  • change life insurance beneficiaries
  • complete and file the Quit Claim Deed and WI Real Estate Transfer Return
  • refinance
  • complete and file form 8332 with the IRS
  • exchange financial information annually