Legal separation in Wisconsin: Understanding the basics

Ending your marriage is a decision that has numerous consequences. Wisconsin is a no-fault state for divorces, which means that the legal process is fairly simple. Just stating that the marriage is over (“irretrievably broken”) is a reason enough for your divorce. Some couples, however, often opt for a legal separation instead of a divorce, primarily to retain insurance and other benefits. In Wisconsin, there is little difference between a legal separation and a divorce, but many couples choose the former when there is room for reconciliation. Talk to divorce lawyers Madison, if you are considering the option. For your help, here are some aspects worth knowing. 

The dos

Before you think of legal separation, you should sit down with your financial consultant and a skilled divorce lawyer to understand marital finances. As we mentioned, the steps in legal separation are similar to that of a divorce, and it is wise to plan your finances. You may also want to close credit cards that you jointly use with your spouse. Your lawyer can help draft the documents for a legally-binding separation. 

The don’ts

Although legal separation and divorce may appear the same, you cannot marry until you get divorced. If you are legally separated, you can wait for a year and file a petition for divorce. Until then, it is wise to avoid dating, at least not in public. Even in a legal separation, the other parent has rights. Allow your kids to see your spouse as per the arrangements of your separation agreement. 

Dating & legal separation

People often want to know once they are legally separated from their spouse, if it is okay to date other people. Even during a legal separation, the couple is married in the eyes of the law, and if you start dating, it would be considered adultery. Did you know that adultery is a felony in Wisconsin? Yes, that’s right! However, as far as your divorce proceedings are concerned, Wisconsin is a no-fault state, and therefore, adultery doesn’t matter. 

How long can you be legally separated in Wisconsin?

There is no limit or deadline for that. However, if you are legally separated, you have to wait for at least a year to get a divorce unless you both agree to the decision. If you don’t want to file a divorce ever, that is also okay. 

Talk to an attorney today about legal separation in detail and ask the key questions related to your situation.

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