Traditional Divorce

What Is a Traditional Divorce?

"Traditional divorce" is not in and of itself a legal term. It's more of an expectation  or understanding of how the overall process is viewed and will be conducted. In a traditional divorce lawyers can be cooperative or uncooperative. They can freely exchange information, or they can be obtrusive, potentially requiring that they be forced to exchange information utilizing formal legal processes known as "discovery".

The underlying themes in traditional divorce is that there are no rules limiting or regulating either party's actions. Further, there are no rules limiting or regulating the actions of the respective parties counsel either.

Depending on who's on the other side, this may or may not be bad.

It is for that reason that traditional divorce is viewed by many lawyers and litigants as unpredictable and potentially expensive.

Why Choose a Traditional Divorce Rather Than a Cooperative Divorce or a Collaborative Divorce?

For some, a traditional divorce is not so much a choice as an obligation because their spouse chooses not to obtain counsel of their own or refuses to opt into either the collaborative or cooperative process.

In other instances, it's because they would prefer not to be restrained by the agreements or stipulations which are associated with either a cooperative divorce or collaborative divorce. In such instances, they may view their options much like a painter, who would prefer to have the options of using any color on the palette and not be constrained by outside limitations. For some, they are convinced by a lawyer, friend or family member that they will get a much better result from a Judge than they will receive via negotiation. For some it is a negotiating strategy to place themselves in a position where they can reasonably threaten "taking this matter to Court" to exploit the other party's fear of the unknown and especially what Court a Court Trial must be like in terms of cost, duration and emotional commitment. For others it is the desire to insure their day in Court, the opportunity to put their soon to be ex-spouse on the stand and show the world what he or she has done wrong. PLEASE NOTE: Wisconsin is in fact a "no fault divorce state". As such please consider this before deciding that you want proceed "Traditionally" . The opportunity to show the world what your soon to be ex-spouse has done wrong may be something that the Court may not allow as in many circumstances its just not pertinent.

Can a Traditional Divorce Culminate in a Trial to the Judge?

Yes. Unlike a collaborative divorce, a trial to the judge is an option in the event of a breakdown in negotiation in a traditional divorce. with that said, the norm even in traditional is for the divorce to conclude with a Stipulated Divorce Hearing.

Does all this mean that Traditional Divorce as process is a bad way to proceed?

No. All it means is that in Traditional Divorce you need to be vigilant in insuring that the matter is proceeding in a manner that you deem appropriate at all times because without the safe guards provided in the other processes, parties and their actions can quickly spiral out of control and before you know it your matter may be proceeding to a Contested Trial to the Court.


Schmidlkofer, Toth, Loeb & Drosen, LLC
949 Glenview Ave.
Wauwatosa, WI, 53213
Phone: 414-259-9300
Fax: 414-259-9303
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We represent people throughout southeast Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Waukesha, Brookfield, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Delafield, Menomonee Falls, Germantown, West Allis and Wauwatosa; and in Milwaukee County, Waukesha County, Washington County and Ozaukee County.