Milwaukee County Property Division Attorneys
Guiding clients through complex property division claims
Aside from custody and visitation, the division of the marital estate is often one of the most contested issues in a divorce. What will you do with the house? How will funds in bank accounts be divided? Will your spouse receive a share of your retirement account? All of these questions are concerning to anyone involved in a divorce. At Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, our Wisconsin divorce attorneys are experienced in dividing various types of assets. We ensure your interests are protected.
Property division laws in Milwaukee County
Wisconsin is a marital property state. In a marital property state, it is presumed that each spouse will receive equal shares of the marital estate. The marital estate is created when the parties get married.
Any property that is owned at the time of the marriage is subject to division in a divorce. This includes property that was owned before the marriage. If one spouse owned a home prior to the marriage, that home will become marital property. In addition, any debts owned by a spouse at the time of marriage also become marital property. For example, credit card debt or student loans may become marital property when the parties marry. It does not matter if the asset or debt was only in one spouse’s name; the property will still be considered marital. Nevertheless, courts have wide discretion to allocate or divide pre-marital property. The rules are complex and often vary by judge and by county.
However, property that was gifted or inherited may not be subject to division in a divorce. The division of all marital assets is left to the discretion of the court, however, so in some cases, gifted or inherited property may be divided between spouses. For example, if one spouse inherited a significant sum of money and used that money to make mortgage payments or pay other marital expenses, a court may split the funds between the spouses.
The factors considered in property division
Wisconsin judges consider several factors when dividing marital property between spouses. These include:
- The length of the marriage
- The property each party brought into the marriage
- Whether one of the parties has substantial assets that are not subject to division in the divorce
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage, including homemaking, and childcare
- The age and health of the parties
- A party’s contributions to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other party
- Each party’s earning capacity
- The desirability of awarding the marital home to the party with primary placement of the children
- Any spousal maintenance or family support orders
- Tax consequences
- Any other factors the court deems relevant
The courts will carefully consider these factors when determining how to divide the marital estate between the parties.
How is marital property valued in Wisconsin?
With contested marital property issues, the parties most often argue over which party should receive an asset or how much an asset is worth. With the latter, it may be necessary to hire an experienced appraiser.
During a marriage, a couple may acquire hundreds of assets, from homes to vehicles to antiques. In many cases, it is difficult to decide how much an asset is worth. However, divorce attorneys have a network of professionals who may appraise various items if the value of these items is disputed.