When Wisconsin couples divorce the property is subject to a 50/50 division whether it was acquired during or before marriage. The only property exempt from equal property division may include property acquired by gift or inheritance from a third party and, possibly, property owned exclusively by one spouse, aka ‘separate property’ acquired outside of the marriage, not in any way maintained using marital funds. Any mixed property – separate property commingled with community property – is considered marital property subject to division in a divorce.
Perhaps the best approach to property division in Wisconsin is for couples to negotiate a distribution of assets before having the issue decided in court, aiming for a 50/50 split. Houses, vehicles, furniture, cash and bank accounts, retirement and pension accounts, stocks, life insurance and other financial instruments, and small businesses are examples of property that must be divided in a divorce. Once property is divided and a divorce is finalized, property will need to be transferred into the correct party’s name, which might be a matter of filing a quitclaim deed on the property or one parry obtaining refinancing in their own name for outstanding obligations.
As to who can stay in the family home is a matter that the court gives thoughtful consideration. Factors include whose funds were used to purchase the home and whether that occurred before or after the marriage; whether there are children involved and; the financial stability of each party among other considerations. If one party keeps the home and there is an outstanding mortgage, they must refinance under their name alone and buy out the other spouse’s interest. Alternatively, the house can be sold and proceeds divided between the spouses.
Because Wisconsin is a community property state, couples seeking a divorce must divide most marital assets equally, with few exceptions. if you have questions regarding the division of marital assets in a Wisconsin divorce, contact Probst Law Offices for assistance today at 414-210-3135.