In Wisconsin, there are three actions that affect a marriage: divorce, legal separation and annulment. All three actions serve to end or separate a marriage.
The legal basis for a divorce is that one or both of the parties must testify that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Once a 120 day waiting period passes, a Judgment of Divorce can be granted that terminates the marriage. After six months, the divorced parties are free to remarry. In a divorce case, property and debt is divided, maintenance (alimony) is determined, and if there are minor children, custody, placement and child support is decided.
A legal separation is similar to a divorce, except that the legal basis is that there is a “substantial breakdown of the marital relationship. Parties must also wait 120 days before a Judgment of Legal Separation can be granted. Like a divorce case, property and debt is divided, maintenance (alimony) is determined, and if there are minor children, custody, placement and child support is decided. The significant difference is that a legally separated couple cannot ever remarry, unless the Judgment of Divorce is granted at a later date.
An annulment may be granted if the Court determines that the marriage was prohibited from the start (due to age of a party, incompetence, influence of drugs/alcohol, one party was already married) or that there was a “fraud to the essentials of the marriage.” An annulment means that the marriage never occurred.
To schedule a free initial office consultation to discuss your divorce or alternatives, please contact us at 414-258-1644 or visit us at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC for further information.
–Alison H.S. Davis