COVID-19 and Divorce Mediation in Wisconsin

Deciding to file for divorce is never an easy decision to make. But during these pandemic circumstances, it can be an even more challenging decision. The Wisconsin Supreme Court has restricted in-person court proceedings through at least May 22, 2020, and the courts will likely significantly limit in-person proceedings for the unforeseeable future to follow. It is safe to assume that our access to the courts to schedule hearings in family law matters will be significantly affected and delayed.

How can one file for divorce when we are under a Safer-at-Home Order and our access to the courts is affected? Despite these factors, the pandemic does not mean that you cannot file for divorce or that your case has to remain stagnant. Many people are commenting about how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on new perspectives and priorities. Maybe now is the time to engage, or re-engage, in mediation of your family law case?

Divorce mediation is a process where a divorcing couple jointly hires a divorce mediator to assist them through the divorce process. A divorce mediator is considered to be neutral and does not take a position for or against either party or give legal advice to either party. As a neutral, a mediator can inform the parties of the law and provide calculations for support, property division, and other divorce related issues.  As a neutral, the mediator works with the couple to help them reach an agreement. With the new Wisconsin mediation rules in family cases, a divorce mediator can also draft and file the legal pleadings with the court making it easier for a divorcing couple to navigate the court procedures. Divorce mediation also allows parties to maintain control over the process of their divorce by working toward agreements outside of court.

Now more than ever, parties and those involved in the legal system, must adapt and use alternative means to achieve legal objectives. Through the divorce mediation process, we can conduct mediation through phone conferences, Zoom meetings, emails, and other forms of contact than do not require in-person meetings. You can continue to work on resolution and bring your case to conclusion despite the challenges we all face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the courts in Southeastern Wisconsin such as Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties are allowing parties to proceed with a Judgment of Divorce by Affidavit without the need to appear in court for a final hearing. This is only true in cases in which both parties have an attorney or the parties have engaged the services of an attorney acting as a divorce mediator. So, if you are considering divorce and believe that divorce mediation may be a desirable option for you, there is an added benefit in that your Judgment of Divorce can be granted now by Affidavit without you ever having to appear in court. This option is not available in cases where one party does not have an attorney or the parties have not hired a divorce mediator.

At Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC, we are proud to offer couples the option of divorce mediation with an experienced family law attorney trained in divorce mediation. Prior to the pandemic and now, our experience and success in working with couples who wish to maintain control of their divorce process through divorce mediation has been a benefit to our mediation clients.  Attorney Alison H.S. Krueger at Nelson, Krueger & Millenbach, LLC is a well-respected and trained divorce mediator. Her primary experience is as a practicing divorce attorney, but she also engages in the mediation process where she deems it will be the most helpful. She also charges a reasonable hourly rate given her years of experience in this field. If you are interested in this process, please call us at 414-258-1644 to schedule a free consultation to discuss same.