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  • 1. Divorce Procedure How Do I Begin a Divorce Action? • File a petition and summons and have the papers served on the other party. You are the “Petitioner” and the other party is the “Respondent”. A set of instructions and forms can usually be purchased at your courthouse, at Horizons Law Group, or through your local county courthouse website. Filing fee is approximately $185 and service costs about $45. Note: Even with the forms available on-line at no charge, the procedure itself can leave you guessing. See our Clerk Services ($400) or Unbundled Attorney Services for assistance. • Filing a Joint Petition (Joint Petitioner – Husband, Joint Petitioner – Wife) saves the service of process (but in Milw. County must have all paperwork completed at time of filing). Still nice, however, as court will give you final hearing date right away (about 120 days from date of filing paperwork); What do I do if I need support or an order in the meantime (before divorce is final)? • File an Order to Show Cause & Affidavit with the Summons & Petition. A hearing will be held generally within 30-45 days where both parties must disclose financial information and a determination of support and/or other orders is then put in place. (Don’t file Joint Petition if you need temporary support.) • Child support and/or maintenance are now a fixed amount of support (rather than a percentage of income – however the fixed number is still based on a percentage of income). Also see for calculating child support where either parent has more than 25% of time with the child(ren). Do we have to go to parenting classes and/or mediation? • Yes. If you have children, you must attend a parenting class. • Mediation is ordered by the court for custody, placement, or visitation disputes and is voluntary for settlement of property and debts. There are also private mediators (we offer this service) where the scheduling is usually quicker and more accommodating. How can Horizons Law Group help me cut down on expenses for attorneys’ fees? Many ways! • You can purchase forms only – complete with simple instructions. 7400 W. State Street • Wauwatosa, WI 53213 • 414-476-5700 • w w w . h o r i z o n s l a w . c o m 57 S. Main Street • Hartford, WI 53027 • 262-673-2400 7600 75th Street, Suite 123, Kenosha, WI 53142 • 262-694-8000 For your convenience, we accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express
  • 2. • Our legal clerk can assist you with filling out, filing, service of process, and obtaining a final court date. This service is available at a flat fee of only $500. • You can have an attorney review your documents and answer your legal questions rather than hiring the attorney. You pay for this service as you need it at the current hourly rate. Please see our Fees page for more information. • You can choose Mediation as an option or the Collaborative process with one of our attorneys. • You can choose a flat fee to limit your costs – see our sample rate sheet. What other steps are involved in the Divorce process? • That depends on what issues are in front of you. Generally, you need to complete a Financial Disclosure Statement, Marital Settlement Agreement (if settlement is reached before final hearing) or Proposed Orders (if no agreement has been reached), and Findings of Fact document. Some counties/judges require a few more one-page forms. • Your case will be dismissed after a certain time period if no action has been taken, i.e. no further filings in the case or no request for a pre-trial hearing. • If you reconcile with your spouse, you can ask for a Reconciliation Postponement which will extend your dismissal date for 90 days. This saves you having to refile (pay another filing fee) if you then decide to go ahead with the divorce. • If you request a Temporary Hearing, the court will make orders at that hearing regarding all issues surrounding your divorce (if asked to by the moving party) – such as placement, custody, child support, maintenance, payment of bills, debts, use of the residence, vehicles, etc. Be prepared with a list of questions and items you want orders on. These orders last until your divorce is completed. • If your spouse is not following the orders from your temporary hearing, then you can file a contempt motion (if it involves financial issues) or an Enforcement Motion (if it involves not following the placement schedule/order). • You may also need to obtain an appraisal of your home and other property, a valuation of your retirement account(s), and copies of last few years of taxes and current check stubs, mortgage statement, debt statements, investment statements, etc. 7400 W. State Street • Wauwatosa, WI 53213 • 414-476-5700 • w w w . h o r i z o n s l a w . c o m 57 S. Main Street • Hartford, WI 53027 • 262-673-2400 7600 75th Street, Suite 123, Kenosha, WI 53142 • 262-694-8000 For your convenience, we accept Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express