The breakdown of a marriage is usually an unpleasant life event. And the issues that must be addressed make matters worse. One of the most important issues is how property and debt must be divided. In fact, property division in Wisconsin is a major cause of conflict and stress in the majority of divorces.
In the state, marital property is divided equally between the divorcing spouses; however, this may change according to some factors. Meanwhile, each spouse gets to keep the property they brought into their marriage. If you are in this situation, you must get legal advice to avoid a financial disaster following a separation.
Property Division in a Wisconsin Divorce
Marital assets can include anything with a monetary value such as real estate, clothing, furniture, vehicles, patents, bank accounts, businesses, stocks, pension plans, and cash. Property division involves both parties discussing who gets what and negotiating. But if both parties agree on the terms of their divorce, they can avoid the hassle. Property division can be done through:
- Settlement negotiations. If both spouses can negotiate a resolution, they can easily make decisions. A divorce lawyer can draft a divorce settlement agreement for them and help them have it approved by a family judge.
- Mediation. Divorcing couples have to negotiate matters in their divorce with the help of a mediator. The third party will help them resolve their conflicts.
- Litigation. High-conflict divorces often require court intervention. In this case, a family judge will make decisions regarding the issues of the couple’s divorce.
Factors that Impact Property Division
Family courts may exclude inheritance and gifts from the division of marital property. They decide on a 50/50 split of marital assets for long-term marriages. But they may also take into account other factors when diving marital property including the properties brought into the marriage, every spouse’s income, each party’s contribution to the marriage, their emotional and physical health, and others. Although the court considers a lot of factors to divide marital property, it won’t consider marital misconduct.
Understanding Separate Property
Property acquired by a spouse before marriage is considered separate property. Separate property also includes gifts and inheritance obtained from third parties. For this property to retain its definition, it has to be kept separate. For instance, adding a separate property to a joint account that both spouses use makes it co-mingled. As a result, it can be considered marital property, which must be divided equally by both spouses.