Tag: Waukesha complex marital property division lawyer

When Separate Property Becomes Marital Property

marital property divisionEven though your name might not be on the title of the car or house, Wisconsin is a community property state in a divorce, so half of the marital assets are yours under most circumstances. This is regardless of whether your spouse earned more money or brought in all of the income during the marriage – marital property division is subject to equal division in the state.

Of course not all property is classified as marital property. Separate property may include property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage, which will remain that spouse’s property after a divorce. Gifts and inheritance acquired by one spouse before or during the marriage may also be considered separate property.

However, if you married your spouse when he or she already owned a home, there is still a possibility that the asset is subject to division in a divorce if it was not maintained as separate property. This is also true when it comes to inheritance if it was co-mingled or mixed with marital assets.

Examples of this might be that your spouse receives an inheritance or gift of money from a relative, which they then deposit into your joint account rather than a separate bank account. Because there was a mixing of separate and marital assets, the inheritance or gift may transmute into marital property. If your spouse owned the home when you married but the two of you use marital assets to make improvements, pay for maintenance, make mortgage payments, or put sweat equity into the home, there may be consideration given to the marital contributions when dividing assets in a divorce.

Contact An Experienced Wisconsin Marital Property Division Attorney For Help

It is important not to draw any conclusions about what marital property is or is not subject to marital asset division in a divorce until you speak to an experienced Wisconsin Family Law attorney. Many spouses simply believe that they have no rights to property that is in their spouse’s name when they divorce, but in many cases, there is some division that is warranted. Contact the Wisconsin Family Law attorneys of Probst Law Offices at 414-210-3135 for a free initial consultation of your case so you can make informed decisions regarding Wisconsin marital property division.

Dividing Retirement Benefits

dividing retirement benefitsPoorly drafted divorce agreements involving dividing retirement benefits such as 401ks, IRAs and pensions are a common issue resulting in post-divorce litigation. Sometimes, specific details are not addressed in the agreement or a step in the execution process is overlooked. Unfortunately, not getting it right the first time can lead to the loss of valuable benefits or costly litigation to correct mistakes.

What exactly is a QDRO?

When couples divorce, there may be retirement accounts to divide such as 401Ks, pensions and IRA’s. While the division of an IRA is fairly straightforward, 401Ks and pensions are governed by federal law and require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO to divide the funds.

A Well-Drafted Agreement

Although you and your spouse may agree to split all retirement funds 50/50, it is important to address specific issues related to the disbursement of retirement funds in the agreement. Issues might include whether changes in the value between the date of divorce and the date of actual division are included in the benefit; if the ex-spouse has to wait for the employee to retire to access the benefit; or if lump sum withdrawals can be made.  There are many issues that can be resolved ahead of time that can be spelled out in the agreement if you know what questions to ask. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer to draft a comprehensive agreement is crucial to avoid a loss in benefits and future litigation.

Executing a QDRO – Avoiding Holes in the Process

When the QDRO is drafted and approved by the lawyers, the plan should be sent to the retirement fund administrator to ensure that the company can in fact execute the order’s provisions. If the order doesn’t conflict with the plan rules, the plan administrator will likely approve it and send it to the judge for signature. A signed order will then be returned to the plan administrator for execution and the divorcing parties and their respective attorneys should be provided notification to ensure the asset has been properly divided – any missteps along the way can result in costly legal fees to set it right or possibly the loss of benefits.

Contact Our Waukesha Marital Property Division Lawyers When Retirement Funds are at Stake

A comprehensive, well executed QDRO will ensure that valuable retirement assets are divided properly and that all divorcing parties get their fair share. If you are considering divorce and have assets such as retirement accounts, speak to an experienced marital property division lawyer for help. The Waukesha divorce lawyers of Probst Law Offices can provide you with a free initial consultation so that you can make informed decisions regarding the division of marital assets or other family law issues you may have.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order

Wisconsin AlimonyDividing retirement assets such as 401K’s and pensions as part of a divorce settlement require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a legal document that divides the assets in a retirement plan between spouses.

Because the employer’s retirement fund often requires the plan holder to initiate the starting date of the benefits, a QDRO should address when a non-plan-owning spouse can begin receiving benefits. The QDRO should also contain clear provisions for the retirement funds in the event the plan holder dies, whether before distributions begin or after – particularly important if the plan holder named a beneficiary other than the ex-spouse. Of upmost importance is to make sure that a QDRO is in place prior to finalizing your divorce.

Contact A Qualified Domestic Relations Order Lawyer

There the many financial considerations when divorcing such as who gets the family home, the financial support of children, retirement assets and more. If you have questions regarding a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in Wisconsin, marital property division or other family law questions, contact Probst Law Offices for personal and confidential help at 414-210-3135.

Pet Custody in a Divorce

pet custody in a divorceTo the delight of pet lovers across the state, last year the Illinois legislature passed a new pet custody in a divorce law that allows judges to consider the well-being of a pet when allocating sole or joint ownership in an Illinois divorce. Much like child custody, the new pet custody law allows a judge to take the best interest of the pet into consideration instead of just treating pets as marital property to be divided.

Although many in Wisconsin also have strong emotional ties to their pets, often considering them a member of the family, Wisconsin courts do not expressly recognize pets as being more than property. Unfortunately, when it comes to divorce, Wisconsin law treats pets just like any other marital property such as furniture or a car, subject to division based on their monetary value.

When trying to determine what is best for the pet and the family in a Wisconsin divorce, reaching a compromise is ideal. Parties will need to decide who will keep the pet after a divorce and whether the other party will be allowed visitation. If you find that and your spouse cannot agree, it may be worthwhile to work with a third party mediator to help you reach an arrangement.

If all efforts fail and you decide to have the issue decided in court, it is important for you and your attorney to present a strong argument as to why a pet should remain under your care. Factors may include who has taken primary responsibility for feeding and caring for the pet during the marriage, whether being awarded the pet serves the children’s best interests in a primary placement household, or if one of the parties owned the pet prior to the marriage. These and other considerations will help strengthen your argument to maintain your relationship with a cat, dog or other family pet.

Concerned about Pet Custody in a Divorce?

Contact Experienced Wisconsin Marital Property Division Lawyers For Help

Until Wisconsin law catches up to take a more compassionate view of what is in the best interests of the family pet in a divorce, it remains a contentious issue. If you have concerns regarding marital property division with regard to a beloved pet, contact the family law attorneys at Probst Law Offices for immediate help.

Divorce and Business Ownership

The possibility of divorce should be an integral part of your business financial planning – the survival of your business may depend on it. It is not just your own divorce you need to worry about, but the possibility that your business partner or an investor may divorce down the road putting your company at risk.

In community property states, including Wisconsin, all assets and liabilities, including those related to business ventures, are typically split 50-50 if they are acquired during the marriage. Equitable distribution states, on the other hand, will divide assets according to the marital circumstances, so spouses may be awarded different percentages.

Divorce and Business Ownership

Whatever the percentage, a business owner would have to come up with an equal cash value to give to his or her ex-spouse or they may be forced to sell part or all of the business to come up with the funds to satisfy the terms of a divorce settlement agreement. With nearly fifty percent of marriages ending in divorce, it is not wise to take a chance on losing your business so it is important to put agreements in place that will keep the company up and running in the event of a divorce.

The more detailed a prenuptial agreement is, the better. In order to achieve a fair settlement when there is a business involved, parties will need to know how much the business is worth. A prenuptial should include details on how the company will be valued and who will be responsible for the costs of a business valuation as they can run anywhere from 5 to 10K for smaller businesses, to as high as 30K for larger, more complex businesses.

A prenuptial or post nuptial agreement should provide clear details on how assets will be divided. There should also be a provision for an extended payout, to avoid the shock of a hefty, onetime payment to an ex-spouse that could send a company into a tailspin. Because a company will likely change over time, it is also important to include a requirement to update agreements periodically so that they make sense if and when a divorce occurs.

Divorce and Business Ownership Questions?

Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Business Valuation Divorce Attorney For Answers at 414-210-3135

There are many issues to consider if you have a business – having a clear idea of what will happen in the event of a divorce is just good business practice. If you would like more information regarding premarital agreements with regard to a business or  if you are considering divorce with a business, it is very important to seek the help of an experienced complex marital property division and business valuation lawyer. Contact Probst Law Offices for more information regarding the division of marital assets and debts with a business.

Divorce and Family Business Valuation

Divorce and Family Business ValueMany couples in the U.S. are small business owners. If you and your spouse are considering divorce, figuring out what to do with the family business requires careful consideration.

If you and your spouse have a good working relationship and can put aside your differences, one option is to continue to own the business together. This allows both spouses to hold on to their respective interest in the business.

Sometimes the prospect of continuing a business relationship with an ex is not feasible. Another option for divorcing couples that share a business is to buy-out the other spouse’s interest. If this is an option you and your spouse are considering, it is important to have an experienced business appraiser conduct a business valuation of the company so that a fair market value or fair value can be determined.  Either spouse can then purchase the other’s half if they are able to raise the funds or use other assets in exchange.

If neither spouse wishes to continue with the business after a divorce, they may decide to sell the business to a third party. In this case, following the valuation, you and your spouse can sell the business and split the proceeds. This often requires continuing your business relationship for a period of time while the business is on the market.

Divorce and a Family Business

Because a divorce will certainly impact a business, married couples can benefit by thinking ahead. Before starting a business, it is a good idea to consider a prenuptial agreement, shareholder agreement or a buy-sell agreement to prevent a legal battle over the value of the assets if you divorce.

Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering a divorce and have a family business, it is important to work with an experienced complex divorce lawyer to ensure that your interests are being served. A skilled negotiator can help you obtain a favorable outcome when dividing marital assets while reducing expensive legal fees.

Business Valuation in a Divorce

If you or your spouse decide to buy the other’s interest in the business or sell the business outright, your divorce attorney can help you obtain a reputable business appraiser to perform a business valuation. If possible, it is recommended that you and your spouse agree to hire only one business valuation firm to be able to save on expenses. Following a valuation, your attorney can help you interpret the valuation so that you can make an informed decision on the disposition of the business.

Running a Family Business After Divorce

Beyond the legal proceedings, divorce can have lasting effects on the business if one or both spouses decide to keep the business going. Thoughtful consideration should be given to a change in the financial situation following a divorce. If one spouse is buying the business from the other, certainly the loss of a business partner will change how you run the business. For couples who decide to continue running a business after they divorce, consider how your roles in the company may need to change to ensure your continued success.

Contact an Experienced Family Business Valuation Divorce Attorney

If you are considering a divorce and own a family business, contact an experienced Wisconsin business valuation divorce attorney for answers to your questions regarding the division of marital assets with a small business. Contact us online or call today at 414-210-3135.

Retirement Accounts in a Divorce | Waukesha Property Division Lawyer

If you are considering divorce, you and your spouse may have retirement accounts subject to marital property division. It is important to evaluate what steps you need to take to ensure that these accounts are divided between the parties.

There are several types of retirement accounts that may be divided in a divorce. The most common type of retirement account is a qualified plan such as a 401(k), 403(b), deferred compensation or a pension.

To divide these accounts, a special order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO must be prepared by your attorney or a financial adviser. Continue reading “Retirement Accounts in a Divorce | Waukesha Property Division Lawyer”

High Stakes Marital Property Division in a Complex Divorce

Marital property division in a divorce typically involves common assets such as your home, automobiles and retirement accounts. In financially complex divorces, couples often have a wider of variety assets that require attention.

Dividing Complicated Assets in a Divorce

Among the many assets a couple may have are stock options and restricted stock, deferred compensation, a closely held business or professional practice, partnerships, retirement and insurance plans, trusts and real property beyond the family home. Add to this, items such as art, antiques or collectibles that must be valued in order to reach a fair division of marital assets. Continue reading “High Stakes Marital Property Division in a Complex Divorce”