Waukesha County

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Respondent's Guide to Divorce/Legal Separation

You have been Served with Divorce/Legal Separation Papers:
Now What?

We strongly recommend that you review the Basic Guide to Divorce/Legal Separation before proceeding with the Procedural Checklist below. 

Procedural Checklist

    1.   Complete the Response and Counterclaim (FA-4113) within 20 days of being served with the Summons and Petition.
    2.   If you have minor children, wait to sign it until you are in the presence of a Notary Public.  You may have your form notarized at the courthouse; there is no charge for this service.
    3.   Come to the Family Division Office between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to have the form reviewed for completeness.
    4.   Make three (3) copies (4 if you or the other party is receiving public assistance) of the Response and Counterclaim.  You can make your own copies in the Family Division Office for $.25 per page on the coin-operated copier.  Please bring cash as it accepts $1, $5, $10 bills and coins only.

Notifying the Other Party (Service)

  1.   If a restraining order or injunction does not exist between you and the other party:
    • Mail a copy of the Response and Counterclaim to the other party.  Provide a copy to the child support agency if you are receiving public assistance.
    • Complete the Affidavit of Mailing (FA-4121) and make a copy for your records
    • File the original Response and Counterclaim and Affidavit of Mailing with the court.

If your Spouse…

Served you with an Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause:  

  1.   Prepare and take the following items with you to court on the day of your temporary hearing:
    •  The original and two (2) copies of your completed, signed, and dated Financial Disclosure Statement (FA-4139).
    • Attach a statement reflecting income earned to date for the current year.
    • Attach your most recent W-2 statement (s).
    • A list of disputed issues and explanations of how, and why you want the family court commissioner to rule on those issues (you may want to review the Stipulation for Temporary Order form as it describes the issues that will be discussed at the temporary hearing).
  2.   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 is otherwise modified by the court.
  3.   Continue to the “Preparing for the Pre-trial Conference” Section on page 4 of this checklist.

 

Did not serve you with an Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause You Have 3 Options:

Option A: You are able to work things out and do not need a court order to guide you through the waiting period.

  • Do nothing and proceed as you are (without a temporary order) until the final hearing. 
  • Continue to the Preparing for the “Pre-trial Conference Section” on page 4 of this checklist.

 

Option B:  You have agreed and want to put your agreements into writing as a court order

Discuss and complete with your spouse the Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order(FA-4126VA/FA-4126-VB or FA-4127VA/FA-4127VB) putting your agreements into writing.  Once signed by the Family Court Commissioner, the stipulation will remain in effect until the divorce is granted or modified by another agreement or court order.

  1.   Discuss with your spouse how you will temporarily handle your marital debts, property, children, and other obligations.
  2.    Complete the Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order forms to make your temporary agreements a court order.
  3.   Come to the Family Division Office between 8:30 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to have the form reviewed for completenss.  Bring the original and three (3) copies of the Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order as well as two (2) self-addressed, stamped envelopes (one addressed to you and one addressed to the other party)   If you are receiving public assistance, the state is a party to your case and you will need an additional copy for them.  In this situation, you would have an original and four (4) copies.
  4.   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, OR not approve and will return the forms to you.
  5.    Continue to the Preparing for the “Pre-trial Conference Section” on page 4 of this checklist.

 

Option C:  You cannot agree on how to work through the waiting period and need direction from a court official. 

You may request a Temporary Hearing because you cannot agree on how to handle things during the 120-day waiting period.  To make this request:

  1.   Complete the Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause (FA-4128VA/FA-4128VB or FA-4129VA/FA-4129VB). 
  2.   Come to the Family Division Office between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, to have your form reviewed for completeness prior to filing.  Make three (3) copies of the Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause (FA-4128VA/FA-4128VB or FA-4129VA/FA-4129VB). 
  3.   File a copy of the Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause (FA-4128VA/FA-4128VB or FA-4129VA/FA-4129VB) at the Customer Service window in the Family Court Office.  The clerk will authenticate (uniquely stamp) all copies, give you a date for the Temporary Hearing, and will keep a copy of the forms for the Family Court case file.  Two of the copies are for you and your spouse, and the original must be returned to court after you have had the other party served. 
  4.   Serve an authenticated copy on your spouse.  If you need additional information on the options for how to have the other party served, you may purchase a Service Packet (P-3000) in the center or download it for free from our website.
  5.   File the original proof of service (Affidavit of Service or Admission of Service) and the original Affidavit to Show Cause and Request for Hearing for Temporary Order and Order to Show Cause (FA-4128VA/FA-4128VB or FA-4129VA/FA-4129VB) in the Family Court Office. 
  6.   Prepare and take the following items to court on the date of the Temporary Hearing:
    • The original and two (2) copies of your completed, signed, and dated Financial Disclosure Statement (FA-4139).
    • Attach a statement reflecting income earned to date for the current year.
    • Attach your most recent W-2 statement (s).
    • A list of disputed issues and explanations of how, and why you want the family court commissioner to rule on those issues (you may want to review the Stipulation for Temporary Order and Temporary Order forms as it describes the issues that will be discussed at the temporary hearing).
  7.   Following the Temporary Hearing, the commissioner will print and give each party a copy of the Temporary Order, which will remain in effect as an order of the court until the divorce/legal separation is final or until otherwise modified by the court.
  8.   Continue to the Preparing for the “Pre-trial Conference Section” on page 4 of this checklist.

 

Preparing for the Pre-Trial Conference

  1.   Once you have been served with the Summons and Petition, the clerk will schedule a Pre-Trial Conference. The date of the Pre-Trial Conference will be sent to you in the mail from the court on a Notice of Pre-Trial Conference.  The date for the Pre-Trial Conference will be no fewer than 120 days from the date you were served, and is the first date on which your divorce/legal separation can be granted. You will also receive a Pre-Trial Order containing instructions from the judge. If you have minor children, you should also receive a brochure on the Helping Children Cope with Divorce Seminar. 
  2.   Read and follow the instructions on the Pre-Trial Order.
  3.   You must attend the Helping Children Cope with Divorce Seminar if there are minor children.
  4.   You should begin completing the following forms about 6 weeks before the date of the Pre-Trial Conference:
    • Individually complete the Financial Disclosure Statement, make 2 copies and attach the following to all of the sets:
      • A statement reflecting income earned to date for the current year
      • Most recent W-2 statement(s)
      • Information regarding the types and costs (e.g., premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc.) of any health insurance policies or plans available to you for the children (if you have minor children)
    • Together you must complete a Marital Settlement Agreement and make 3 copies. 
    • Together you must complete the Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment and Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment and make 3 copies.  If you’re not confident that your forms are complete, consider waiting until your appointment (see the next step) to make the copies.  If you choose to make copies at the self-help center, a fee of $0.15/page will apply. 
  5.   Come to the Family Division Office at least three (3) weeks before the Pre-Trial Conference to have the following forms reviewed for completeness:
    • Financial Disclosure Statement and required attachments.
    • Original Marital Settlement Agreement (if applicable),
    • Original Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment and Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment
  6.   NO LATER than 10 business days before the Pre-Trial Conference you must:
    • File the original Financial Disclosure Statement and required attachments
    • File the original Marital Settlement Agreement.

 

The Pre-Trial Conference

  1.   Take the following with you to court:
    • Two (2) copies (or 3 if the State is a party to the case) of your completed, signed, and dated Financial Disclosure Statement with attached documents (you already sent the original to the court).  Once you get to court, give one copy to your spouse and keep the other for reference.
    • Helping Children Cope with Divorce Completion Certificate (if minor children).
    • Three (3) copies of the completed, dated, and signed Marital Settlement Agreement.
    • The original and three (3) copies of your completed Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment and Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment forms.
    • Completed Vital Statistics Form (obtained during your appointment).
    • Any other documents you think may help you make your case to the court. 
  2.   Go to the assigned courtroom at least 20 minutes before your court time and let the bailiff or court clerk know for which case you are appearing (you may want to go even earlier to observe another hearing).
  3.   When your case is called, go to the front of the room and sit where directed by the court or the bailiff.  Take all your papers and documents with you.
  4.   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 a copy to the other side. 
  5.   The Court may either grant your divorce/legal separation or set another court date for you to return.

    If the Court GRANTS your Divorce:

    If you did not receive your copy on the date of your hearing, about 3 weeks after the date of your hearing you will receive a copy of the Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment, Parties Approval of Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Judgment and attached Marital Settlement Agreement forms from the court with the Judge’s conformed signature. These documents serve as your final divorce papers and you must keep them for your records as proof of the divorce.

    If the Court DOES NOT GRANT your Divorce:

    It is recommended that you make an appointment with the Court Self-Help Center for assistance in completing your forms, or that you make an appointment with a volunteer attorney in the Family Legal Clinic for legal advice.  To make an appointment call (262) 548-7524, or come in during our walk-in hours.

Court Related Offices

Clerk of Circuit Court, Family Division Office
Waukesha County Courthouse, Rm C-153
515 W. Moreland Blvd.
Waukesha, WI 53188
262-548-7544
http://courtselfhelp.waukeshacounty.gov

Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Available Services:

Accept Filings and Fees
Distribution of Forms, Packets, & Procedural Guides (fees may apply)
Notary Public Services
Coin-Operated Copier: $ .25/pp *Please bring cash as the copier accepts $1, $5, $10 bills and coins only.
Review of forms for completeness: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Family Legal Clinic (By Appointment ONLY): Wednesdays with appointments starting at 3:00 p.m.

  • 20 minutes of free legal advice with a volunteer attorney.
  • Eligibility requirements: Individuals with a Waukesha County Case, do not have an attorney, have never utilized the Family Legal Clinic before, have family court related legal questions, and are in need of assistance. ​

Family Court Services
Waukesha County Courthouse, Rm C-345
515 W Moreland Boulevard
Waukesha, WI 53188
262-548-7900

Office Hours: Monday -Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Available Services: Child physical placement related mediation and studies/evaluations

Waukesha County Child Support Enforcement Agency
Administration Building, Room 348
515 W. Moreland Blvd.
Waukesha WI 53188
414-615-2586

Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.