Fathers' Rights


No matter how tough you are, divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of your life. Suddenly, you can find yourself feeling unprepared and vulnerable as your financial future, your living situation, and even your relationship with your kids are threatened.

However, you never have to go through this process alone. Our Madison, Wisc., attorneys make it their mission to be advisors and advocates for men before, during, and after divorce.

Through each step of the divorce process, they’re there to give men the legal support they and their children deserve both in and out of the courtroom.

Divorce Attorneys Dedicated to Helping Men

Our Madison attorneys exclusively practice family law with a focus on men’s divorce in order to have an astute understanding of the challenges you are likely to face as a man and father in the family court system.

They are dedicated to helping men with any divorce issue, including property division, alimony, child support and child support.

Divorce is a critical life transition and our Madison attorneys are there to help you as you move on to the next chapter of your life.

Advocates For Dad’s Rights and Fathers’ Rights

Joseph E. Cordell and his wife, Yvonne, founded Cordell & Cordell in 1990 in order to help men level the playing field in family law. The firm has since grown into one of the largest family law firms serving men in the world with more than 100 offices across the country.

The firm expanded internationally in 2015 by opening an office in the United Kingdom.

At Cordell & Cordell, we understand the unique challenges military families face during divorce.

Client Testimonials


“Melinda is phenomenal. … She was great, just an overall awesome attorney. She communicates very well and is always well prepared. She is definitely proactive vs. reactive. It was as if she was always thinking ahead. This is such a benefit. She is also very direct. She didn’t promise me things she couldn’t follow through on. I could tell she cared enough not to let me waste my time or money chasing something unrealistic.”


“Cassie is a very professional, knowledgeable, and caring attorney. She was always there when I needed her. I am a physician and my ex was very uncivilized about the divorce. Cassie was able to handle my case with ease and confidence. Cassie wrote a great divorce decree which protected my children, myself, and my financial assets. … Cassie was very understanding to the stress of the divorce. She always returned emails and phones calls promptly. She understands the concerns men have in divorce and all the issues concerning their rights with their children.”


“I am very satisfied with everything that Anna has been doing on my case. In fact, if I close my file and feel the need to re-retain down the road, I’d choose Cordell & Cordell and hopefully be assigned to Anna. Anna is very friendly, smart and communicative. Very satisfied!”

Frequently Asked Madison Divorce Questions

How long do I have to live in Madison to file for divorce?

In order to file for divorce in Madison, you must have lived in the state of Wisconsin for the preceding six months and in Dane County for at least 30 days.

Is there a mandatory waiting period in Madison before a divorce can be granted?

There is a 120-day waiting period for all divorce cases in Wisconsin. This does not necessarily mean that you will be divorced on the 121st day.

Rather, the length of time will depend on a variety of factors including the ability of the parties to resolve issues outside of court and the court’s calendar.

How can I serve my spouse in Madison? If attempts to serve do not work, can I serve by publication?

A summons must be personally served on your spouse and proved either by affidavit of the spouse or the third party server.

If the spouse cannot be personally served with reasonable diligence, a copy of the summons may be left at the spouse’s usual dwelling in the presence of a competent family member at least 14 years of age.

If all else fails, the summons may be published in a newspaper. In Madison, the official newspaper for publication is the Wisconsin State Journal.

In cities of 250,000 people or less, the summons must appear in a publication likely to give notice in that area. If the spouse’s address is known, a copy of the summons and petition should be mailed prior to publication.

What are the specific forms I will need to file for a divorce in Madison?

You will need a Summons (unless joint petition), a Petition, a Confidential Petition Addendum, and an Original Certificate of Divorce or Annulment.

Where do I file for divorce if I live in Madison?

You need to file for divorce at the Dane County Courthouse located at 215 S. Hamilton St., Room 100, in Madison.

How much are filing fees at the Dane County Courthouse?

A Petition without request for maintenance or child support costs $184.50. A Petition with request for maintenance or support costs $194.50.

Are there any Dane County-Specific laws that are different from how other family law cases around the state are handled?

Click the link for Dane County-specific checklists and court documents.