Milwaukee Divorce Attorneys Protect Your Best Interests in Division of Property Matters
Several factors impact martial property division in Wisconsin
Property division often becomes one of the most hotly contested issues in a Wisconsin divorce. Spouses may both feel they are justly entitled to a home, vehicle, or some other asset. At Bandle & Zaeske, LLP, our divorce attorneys are experienced in numerous property division matters. We help you secure assets rightfully yours in divorce proceedings.
Wisconsin is a community property state. Therefore, there is a presumption that each spouse has a one-half interest in all assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage. The name on the asset often does not matter.
Though in many cases, the assets and debts of a married couple will be divided equally, in others, a party may argue that this presumption should not apply. To overcome this presumption, the court may examine several factors, such as:
- The length of the marriage
- The property each party brought into the marriage
- Whether one of the parties has substantial assets not subject to division (such as inherited or gifted property)
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage
- The age and health of the parties
- A party’s contributions to the other party’s education, training, or increased earning power
- Each party’s earning capacity
- The desirability of awarding the family home to the party with physical placement of the children
- The existence of any maintenance or family support orders
- The tax consequences to each party
- Any other economic circumstances court wishes to consider
The court may also consider additional factors it deems necessary.
Gifted or inherited property in Wisconsin
What if you have property that was given to you or was inherited? What if your grandparents left you their home, or what if your parents gave you some land?
Property division in these situations is largely a grey area. Whether the property will be subject to division by the court depends on how the property has been treated.
If the property has been commingled with marital property, then the court may determine that it is subject to division. For example, if you inherited $100,000 and put a large chunk of it in a joint marital bank account, courts will likely hold that the funds are subject to division. Since the inherited funds were combined with marital funds in the bank account, the inheritance becomes marital property.
Similarly, if a spouse enhances the value of the other spouse’s property, it may become marital, even if it was gifted or inherited. Consider a house that was inherited or gifted to one spouse. The other spouse spends time making repairs to the home, painting it, and installing new appliances. Since the other spouse has taken the time and money to improve the value of the home, the home will likely be identified as marital property.
How is property valued in a divorce?
The parties in a divorce may have a hard time agreeing on the value of a certain asset. In many cases, it is easy to quash these arguments with a few documents. For example, the value of a checking account can easily be verified by bank statements. However, what about the value of other pieces of property, such as businesses, residences, and vehicles? The value of these assets may fluctuate.
These assets will be valued as of the date of the divorce. If the parties cannot agree on the value of the asset, an appraisal will need to be conducted. In some cases, the parties agree on an appraiser. However, if they cannot, one may be appointed by the court.
Once the property has a value assigned to it, division of the property may commence.
If you have questions about property division, contact our skilled Milwaukee Wisconsin martial property division lawyers today
At Bandle & Zaeske, our Wisconsin divorce attorneys understand how frustrating it can be to divide up property and other assets during divorce. Our divorce attorneys are recognized as some of the best in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin. We proudly serve Washington County, Ozaukee County, and Waukesha County. To schedule a free consultation call (414) 359-1424 or contact us online.