Can a Wisconsin judge refuse to grant your divorce?
Finalizing a divorce can be emotionally taxing. As the process nears completion you anticipate the finality and are met with a gamut of emotions. Once the martial agreement is signed and everything is ready to be filed with the court, you would expect smooth sailing from here on out. However, that may not be the case.
In another state, there was a recent case that illustrated the power a judge holds when deciding if a couple can legally divorce.
A recent Kentucky case
Earlier this year, a couple who took several steps to resolve their differences met in court for what they thought would be the conclusion of their imminent divorce. The couple was separated for over a year and had attempted counseling to work through their differences four times.
When they went to court, the judge saw their ability to be civil with each other and their willingness to work together to parent their child. In this case, the judge was not convinced that the marriage was not beyond saving and asked the couple to give counseling another try.
Additionally, when the judge ordered the couple to attend more counseling to resolve their issues, it was not a final order. When an order like this is not “final,” there is no option for either party to file a formal appeal.
Could this happen in Wisconsin?
Similar to Wisconsin, Kentucky is a no-fault state. A judge merely needs to find the marriage to be “irretrievably broken” to grant a divorce. However, if the parties have not been separated for more than a year and one party believes the marriage is not irretrievably broken, then the court can extend the divorce for a minimum of 30 days, but a maximum of 60 days to allow the couple time to evaluate the likelihood of reconciliation. Furthermore, the court also has the ability to order counseling in Wisconsin.
For the most part, this case seems to be an outlier. Typically, when a divorcing couple agrees on divorce and is willing to work together to resolve the child custody and other issues, it is a positive step toward a peaceful divorce.