Divorce, Annulment or Legal Separation

Axley’s divorce attorneys in Madison, Waukesha, and Janesville, Wisconsin understand life-changing events in your family can be stressful and traumatic. Quality legal advice and representation during these difficult transitions is critical. Furthermore, our divorce attorneys recognize the importance of reaching fair settlements that enable you to continue working and co-existing amicably with the other party when it comes to divorce or other separation. Our family law lawyers include mediators and lawyers certified in collaborative divorce.

However, we will not hesitate to take a case to trial in situations where we cannot reach a fair resolution. Our Madison divorce attorneys are experienced and motivated trial attorneys with a proven record of success. We will carefully evaluate your case and work with you to develop a strategy to achieve your goals. We make it a priority to explain the law and the procedure to you, so that you are an integral part of the process.

Spouses who are separating have three different options to consider:


Divorce is a proceeding that legally terminates a marriage. The marriage must be “irretrievably broken,” meaning that there is no reasonable prospect for reconciliation. After a divorce, both individuals are single and free to remarry after 6 months. At a minimum, the process will last 120 days. In order to file for divorce, at least one spouse must have lived in Wisconsin for the last 6 months, and in the county where they plan to file the divorce for the last 30 days.

Legal Separation

Legal separation does not technically end a marriage, so the parties are not free to remarry. This is an option for couples that do not wish to divorce, but want to separate their finances and property. When one party cannot obtain their own health insurance at a reasonable cost, this option is often a consideration. The process to obtain a legal separation is very similar to divorce, and will take 120 days, at a minimum. In order to file for legal separation, at least one spouse must have resided in the county for the last 30 days.


Annulment is a legal determination that the marriage was not valid. For this reason, annulments are very rare. An annulment may be appropriate if one party lacked the capacity to consent to the marriage (whether by age, mental incapacity, or otherwise), if a party was wrongfully induced to enter into the marriage (by force, duress or fraud), if a party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage, or if the marriage is otherwise prohibited by Wisconsin law. In order to file for annulment, at least one spouse must have resided in the county for the last 30 days, or the parties must have entered into the marriage in the state of Wisconsin within the past year.

For more information, visit our pages on Collaborative DivorceCustody, Placement and Child Support and Property Division & Spousal Support/Maintenance/Alimony.

Divorce, Annulment or Legal Separation Attorneys

Client Successes

Contentious Divorce Case
Successfully settled contentious divorce case with a difficult pro se party, involving all issues of custody, placement, child support, property division and maintenance
Post-Divorce Child Support Modification
Prevented a former spouse from modifying child support shortly after the divorce was granted, despite the former spouse’s loss of employment.
Post-Divorce Maintenance Modification
Prevented a former spouse from re-opening the divorce judgment to request maintenance modification when maintenance was previously held open.

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