You should use extreme caution if you go through a divorce without a lawyer.
Divorce is a lawsuit and it can have a number of hidden consequences. If you have little or no income, you may qualify for free help from a legal services agency. What can you do if you aren't satisfied with the final divorce judgment?
You also can appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. There are very strict time limits for filing an appeal usually 45 days. Certain issues can be reviewed by the trial court at any time. You will usually have to show a substantial change of circumstances before a trial court will revise a judgment. Very few cases succeed on appeal. It is important to make informed decisions before the final judgement. If you are dissatisfied with a decision about maintenance, however, you should be aware of certain limits. A judgment that waives maintenance cannot be revised.
If you want the court to reconsider an award of limited-term maintenance, you must file a motion before the maintenance period ends. What is a default divorce? A default divorce is one in which you and your spouse have no contested issues to be decided by the court.
The date of a default hearing is usually soon after you file a Final Marital Settlement Agreement, which spells out all your arrangements for support, maintenance, and asset and liability distribution, as long as the day statutory waiting period has expired. At the hearing, upon approval of your agreement, the court will grant an absolute judgment of divorce. If a spouse fails to respond to the petition for divorce, the case is legally considered a default action.
For practical purposes, however, the absence of an agreement between the parties makes the matter a contested case.
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What if you and your spouse can't reach an agreement? Contested trials are costly and involved. The rules of evidence will be enforced and contain many pitfalls for the unwary. Is it possible to get divorced when you don't know where your spouse lives? The court has no power to order child support or maintenance unless your spouse personally is served. What action may be taken against a spouse who disobeys a court order regarding custody, visitation, debt payments or payments of support or maintenance?
You must petition the court to enforce its order. If not, the court will want to know why. After hearing the facts, the court decides whether your spouse willfully disobeyed. If he or she does not purge, then the court can impose punishment with a jail term of up to six months. The court may issue other orders as necessary to remedy the contempt.
If your spouse fails to pay bills as ordered by the court, can the creditor sue both of you? They may sue either spouse and may repossess any property in your possession that was pledged as security. If only one of you is sued, that spouse may bring the other into the lawsuit. What is a mediation?
Mediation is a process to help parties resolve their issues. Mediation attempts to help you resolve such issues faster and at less cost. The family court commissioner or the court itself must refer you to the family court counseling services for mediation of custody, placement or visitation disputes. The same is true if one of you wishes to revise a final judgment and legal custody or physical placement is one of the contested issues.
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They may also be discussed if you both agree in writing to do so. If you are paying or receiving support, then yes, you must provide documentation of your current income or risk being found in contempt of Court. Once a divorce is finalized the only modifications that can be made are maintenance, child support, family support, placement and custody. The property division cannot be modified after the divorce is final. An exception to this rule would be if it is discovered that your spouse hid an asset which was not included in the settlement.
Understanding and Calculating Alimony in Wisconsin
Should that be the case, then the Court would consider reopening the Judgment of Divorce to address the division of the non-disclosed asset. If one party fails to pay child or spousal support or refuses to honor the custody and placement visitation order, the law provides a remedy through a finding of contempt. Again, a Motion must be filed with the court. If the violation involves child or spousal support, the court can garnish wages or force the violator to pay in other ways. Sometimes, the violator is sentenced to a jail term as well.
The court also has broad discretion to come up with other, more creative solutions to force the violator to comply with the terms of the decree. The court can also order the payment of attorneys fees or other penalties. If you are being denied placement, you can file a Petition to Enforce Placement to force the other party to comply with the court order.
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The court again has broad discretion to enforce a placement schedule, including awarding make-up time, changing the schedule or awarding attorneys fees and costs. Can you change a court order in a divorce in Wisconsin? If so, how is this done? How can you enforce an order? Orders regarding property division are permanent and generally cannot be changed unless you file a Motion to Reopen. A waiver of maintenance at the time of the divorce judgment is also a final order and cannot be changed except upon extreme or unusual circumstances.
Read through the motion to figure out if you agree or disagree with what the other party is asking for. If you agree to the changes, you may be able to avoid a court hearing and Submit a Stipulation and Order. You may also be able to work out custody and visitation changes through mediation rather than going to court. Both parties will have to go to the court hearing so the judge can ask some questions and decide what orders to change, if any.
Oppositions normally must be filed with the court within 10 business days after the other side served the motion on you. If you received the motion in the mail, you get an additional 3 calendar days from the date it was mailed. This means the other party may get everything that was asked for in the motion and you will not have a chance to tell the judge your side of the story. If you disagree with any part of the motion, be sure to file an opposition. Judges do not change court orders lightly. There are legal standards that judges must follow before changing orders, and the legal standard is different depending on what issues are being raised.
It is up to the person asking for the change to prove the legal standard before the judge can change the court order. For a description of common issues raised in motions to modify orders, and the legal standards to change them, please visit File a Motion to Go Back to Court.