Wisconsin Family Law

  1. Overview

    The following sections are included because it may often be the case that a victim of an online privacy invasion has recently divorced the perpetrator spouse, or is considering a divorce or possibly a separation. Although evidence of misconduct is not appropriate in a divorce proceeding, the publication of sex photos/videos may well be considered in child custody proceedings, and considerations of domestic violence are appropriate when determining spousal support.

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  2. Divorce

    1. Introduction

      Wisconsin is a “no fault” divorce state which divorce decrees are based on a finding that the parties have irreconcilable differences that have led to the breakdown of the marriage, and no wrongdoing by a particular spouse may be alleged as the cause of the divorce.

    2. Text of the Statute(s)

      Wis. Stat. § 767.315 is available here.

      (1) Irretrievable breakdown.

      (a) If both of the parties to a legal separation or divorce action by petition or otherwise have stated under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or if the parties have voluntarily lived apart continuously for 12 months or more immediately prior to commencement of the action and one party has so stated, the court, after hearing, shall make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken for purposes of s. 767.35 (1) (b) 1.

      (b) If the parties to a legal separation or divorce action have not voluntarily lived apart for at least 12 months immediately prior to commencement of the action and if only one party has stated under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to filing the petition and the prospect of reconciliation, and proceed as follows:

      1. If the court finds no reasonable prospect of reconciliation, it shall make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken for purposes of s. 767.35 (1) (b) 1.

      2. If the court finds that there is a reasonable prospect of reconciliation, it shall continue the matter for further hearing not fewer than 30 nor more than 60 days later, or as soon thereafter as the matter may be reached on the court's calendar, and may suggest to the parties that they seek counseling. The court, at the request of either party or on its own motion, may order counseling. At the adjourned hearing, if either party states under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall make a finding whether the marriage is irretrievably broken for purposes of s. 767.35 (1) (b) 1.

       (2) Breakdown of marital relationship. If both of the parties to a legal separation or divorce action by petition or otherwise have stated under oath or affirmation that the marital relationship is broken, the court, after hearing, shall make a finding that the marital relationship is broken for purposes of s. 767.35 (1) (b) 2.

    3. Cases

      There are no reported Wisconsin cases that are factually relevant or applicable to WMC victims.

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  3. Child Custody

    1. Introduction

      If the victim of the nonconsensual online publication of intimate photos is involved in a child custody dispute, he or she may use evidence of this type of misconduct to establish abuse or harassment by his or her former spouse or lover. When determining child custody, the court’s primary consideration is to decide what is in the “best interest(s) of the child.”

    2. Text of the Statute(s)

      Custody to party; joint or sole. Wis. Stat. § 767.41(2) is available here.

    3. Cases

      Research is ongoing.

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