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Frequently Asked Questions

On The Topics of Marriage, Divorce, Child Custody & Real Estate In Marriage & Divorce

Is There Common Law Marriage In Wisconsin?

No. Some states convey the status of “married” to couples if they meet certain criteria.  In Wisconsin, to be married the couple has to have received the marriage license and been married by a person authorized to do so. See also: Marriage License, Marital Property Law, Cohabitation

Do we need to get a license to marry? Where? When?

Yes. The administrative rules of the County where you plan to marry govern. The County Clerk's office can help you obtain an application and learn of the waiting period and other pertinent information about the license. For more information, please refer to: Wisconsin County Websites and Wisconsin Marriage License.

How do I find a Divorce lawyer?

People often ask their friends, they search on line, and they see advertisements. Each person should talk to the attorney to see if there is a good fit. See also: Attorney Kathleen Reiley, Divorce Lawyer of Milwaukee

Can I get divorced if we live in different states?

If I have lived in Wisconsin for more than 6 months and in one county for more than 30 days, but my spouse and children have always lived in another state, can I get a divorce?  Yes, but.  You can have the status of the marriage dissolved, but the important issues of your child or children's custody and child support cannot be addressed in that state.  This is more complicated than not, so a thorough discussion with your attorney is necessary if you find yourself in this situation. See also: Wisconsin Child Support, Child Support & Family Maintenance

Who is responsible for which debts, and who gets what property?

If my spouse and I kept all of our bank accounts and credit cards in separate names, can I be responsible for his debts or am I entitled to any of her assets? 

Title does not control ownership in Wisconsin without a marital property agreement, and even then there are intricacies to creditors that may affect married people getting divorced.  Each party needs to disclose on a financial disclosure statement his or her assets, liabilities and income, even if it is in his or her own name or was gifted or inherited.  What happens to those assets, debts and income needs to be determined in mediation, negotiation, in collaboration, or at trial. See also: Auto Valuation, Credit Cards, Financial Disclosure Forms, Forms, Divorce,

How long does it take to get a divorce?

You know the answer to this will be “it depends”.  There is a minimum 120-day wait from the filing of a joint petition or service of a petition filed by one person.  Courts like parties to wrap up a divorce action within a year, but it can take longer depending on the issues and the parties.

What happens from the time a petition is filed to the final judgment of divorce?

The parties need to collect and disclose financial information regarding assets, debts and income; they need to make agreements or go through the process for custody and placement study. If there is a need for formal discovery, this process can take longer and be more expensive.

How much does a divorce cost?

How much a divorce will cost in attorney fees depends on many factors, including the complexity of the parties’ assets and debts, how income is earned or received or calculated, whether there are unresolved issues concerning custody and placement, and the health of the parties.

How old must a child be before they can decide where they want to live?

How old does a child have to be before he or she can make up his or her own mind about which parent he or she wants to live with?

18. Custody and placement can be complex and how and whether a child is “heard” depends on the parents, the guardian ad litem, and the person conducting the custody and placement study. See also: Custody, Legal Custody, Physical Custody, Stepparent Adoptions

What is an appraiser?

An appraiser is a person who is licensed in this state (Wisconsin) to provide certified appraisals of the value of property. The services are usually provided for a fee. See Real Estate In Divorce Under Wisconsin Laws

Are Appraisals required to finalize a divorce?

A certified appraisal may not be required to finalize a divorce, unless the value of property is contested. Spouses can stipulate (agree) to the value of property. See more: Real Estate Appraisals For Divorce, Real Estate, Marital Property Settlement, Stipulation

Wisconsin State Licensed Attorney:

Attorney Kathleen (Kathy) Reiley exclusively practices law in the state of Wisconsin.

Practice Focus on Divorce and Family Law:

Attorney Reiley focuses her law practice in the area of family law, handling legal separation, Divorce, cohabitation, same sex marriages and divorces, child custody, legal custody, physical placement of minor children, child support, spousal support, paternity, marital property issues, and guardianships.

Divorce Trial Litigation and Divorce Mediation:

With more than thirty years of experience in family law, Attorney Reiley has also participated in the Dane County Bar Association Mediation Project since its inception. Attorney Reiley offers mediation services and divorce mediation, as well as collaborative divorce, cooperative divorce, contested divorce, litigated trial divorce, stipulated divorce, uncontested divorce, divorce of elderly spouses, spousal support (alimony), extensive real estate matters involved in divorce, post divorce modifications and actions, and child support modifications.


Kathleen Reiley, SC
Reiley Law Offices
7161 N Port Washington Road, Suite B
Milwaukee (Glendale), Wisconsin 53217
Telephone: (414) 369-6309
Website: ReileyLaw.com

Regular Business Hours:

Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM

Geographic Focus:

Attorney Reiley most frequently represents people in Sheboygan, Washington, Ozaukee, Waukesha and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin


Bayside, Brown Deer, Cudahy, Fox Point, Franklin, Glendale, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Milwaukee, Oak Creek, River Hills, Shorewood, South Milwaukee, and Saint Francis, & Wisconsin.


Bayside, Belgium, Cedarburg, Fredonia, Grafton, Mequon, Newburg, Port Washington, Saukville, Thiensville, & Waubeka, Wisconsin.


Sheboygan, Elkhart Lake, Cedar Grove, Waldo, Gibbsville, Sheboygan Falls, Oostburg, Adell, Cascade, Plymouth, Howards Grove, Glenbeulah, Mosel, Kohler, Random Lake, Greenbush, and Hingham, Wisconsin.


Allenton, Germantown, Hartford, Jackson, Kewaskum, Newburg, Richfield, Slinger, & West Bend, Wisconsin.


Big bed, Brookfield, Butler, Chenequa, Delafield, Dousman, Eagle, Elm Grove, Hartland, Lac La Belle, Lannon, Menomonee Falls, Merton, Mukwonago, Muskego, Nashotah, New Berlin, North Prairie, Oconomowoc, Oconomowoc Lake, Okauchee Lake, Pewaukee, Summit Village, Sussex, Wales, & Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Call Milwaukee Divorce Attorney Reiley Today:

To speak with Attorney Reiley regarding your situation, please call (414-369-6309) her or send her an email.

Kathleen Reiley, S.C.
7161 North Port Washington Road, Suite B
Milwaukee (Glendale), Wisconsin, 53217

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 170364
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53217

Located in North Milwaukee in the Glendale community.
Attorney Reiley's practice reaches across Milwaukee County and into surrounding Jefferson, Ozaukee, Waukesha, Racine and Kenosha counties.