My spouse lives out of state. Can we still use a Wisconsin Mediator for our divorce?
Sometimes a party may move out of state while their divorce case is still pending. If your ex has moved out of Wisconsin during your divorce, it can raise certain issues. One question that may arise is how Divorce Mediation will work when you and your ex live in different states. In this situation, you may be wondering: My spouse lives out of state. Can we still use a Wisconsin Mediator for our divorce?
Wisconsin Divorce Mediation
Wisconsin Divorce Mediation is a process that involves both parties working with a trained Mediator to evaluate and negotiate their disputed case issues. The Mediator is a neutral third party who is there to help facilitate settlement.
In Wisconsin, depending on the case, mediation may be voluntary or mandatory. For instance, Wisconsin law requires that divorcing parents attend mediation when they disagree regarding child custody and physical placement.
Mediation agreements can involve some or all of the issues in a divorce case. For instance, you and your ex could attend mediation and agree on child custody and placement issues and decide to litigate your property division. By contrast, you could also settle all of your disputed issues.
Some mediations may involve the parties meeting multiple times before completing the process. Depending on the case complexity, mediation may last for hours, days, or weeks.
Typically, a Mediator will work with the parties in person. However, since the pandemic, many divorce mediations have taken place over Zoom and other online platforms. Depending on the Mediator and the degree of conflict, the process may involve both parties and their attorneys working together in the same space or in separate physical or virtual rooms.
Wisconsin Divorce Jurisdiction
A Wisconsin court must have jurisdiction over the parties to grant their divorce. To file for divorce in Wisconsin, one spouse must have lived in the state for at least six months and in the county where they are filing for the past thirty days. You and your spouse may have started your divorce when you both resided in Wisconsin. Now that your ex is living out of state, you may still both be able to proceed with your divorce and participate in Divorce Mediation.
Child-Related Divorce Issues
Generally, where minor children have been living for six months is the locale with jurisdiction over them. Therefore, if your children have lived out-of-state with your ex and more than six months have passed, it may impact your ability to settle child custody, placement, and support matters. However, if your children have remained with you in Wisconsin, a Wisconsin court will most likely retain jurisdiction over their custody, placement, and support.
Mediation When Your Ex is Out-of-State
Thanks to advances in technology, remote participation during mediation is not only possible, it's relatively common. Depending on your Mediator, you and your ex may be scheduled to attend mediation using remote technology. Your Divorce Mediation may also involve you attending in person and your ex doing so remotely. It’s also possible that your ex may decide to return to Wisconsin to participate in all or part of the process.
Divorce Mediation can be an effective way for parties to resolve their disputed issues and move on with their lives. The best way to evaluate your mediation options during your Wisconsin divorce is by consulting with an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney and Mediator.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Family Law Attorney
Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and Mediator with the experience you need to help you with your Wisconsin divorce and mediation. If you have a divorce case in Metro Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Brookfield, please contact us today and let us take a “first look” at your situation.