Untitled---2023-10-09T125050.731.jpgFor any couple who is going through a divorce, one of the key issues that needs to be addressed is property and asset division. This is one of the primary financial concerns that will affect spouses. Decisions about property division will determine the financial resources available to each spouse, in consideration of establishing new living arrangements, covering bills and expenses, and addressing other needs. When contemplating issues related to property, spouses will need to understand the community property laws in Wisconsin and the factors a court considers when determining division of marital assets. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide guidance on how the laws may be applied in a specific situation. They can help negotiate a property settlement and address other related legal concerns.

Understanding Property Division Laws in Wisconsin

Wisconsin recognizes marital assets as “marital property.”, This means that property acquired by either spouse during  the marriage is jointly owned, and each spouse has an equal claim to the assets they own.

The first step in determining how property should be divided will involve identifying which assets are considered part of the marital estate. Generally, any assets acquired during the marriage are classified as marital property and are subject to division. This includes real estate properties, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement funds, investments, business interests, and personal belongings.

Certain types of assets may be exempt from division if they are individually owned by one party. In most cases, individual property will consist of assets a spouse owned before they got married. Other assets one spouse received during the marriage as a gift from someone other than the other spouse may be considered individual property. Inheritances received by either spouse may also be individually owned, and property purchased with gifts or inheritances will also be classified as separate property.

Factors Considered During Property Division

When deciding how to divide assets between spouses during a divorce proceeding in Wisconsin, several factors may be taken into consideration, including:

  • The length of the marriage.

  • Any substantial assets ;individually owned by either spouse.

  • Contributions made by each spouse to the marriage, including the value of child care services spouses have provided and other homemaking activities.

  • Contributions each spouse has made to the other spouse’s education, training, or other factors that increased their respective earning power.

  • Each spouse’s age, health, and the amount of income they can earn based on their education, training, skills, experience, or any other factors that may affect their ability to work.

  • Whether it may be preferable to award the couple’s marital home to one party based on decisions about child custody.

  • Whether one spouse will be paying spousal support to the other.

  • Other economic factors that could affect either spouse, such as pension benefits a person will be able to receive in the future.

  • The tax consequences that will affect each spouse, based on the decisions made about property division.

  • Agreements between the spouses regarding the division of property, including prenuptial agreements.

  • Any other factors that a family court judge may find relevant.

Presumption of an Equal Division

Wisconsin law presumes that there should be an equal or 50/50 asset division. The value of the assets that will be awarded to one spouse should be equal to the value of the assets awarded to the other spouse. However, judges may deviate from this presumption after considering the factors detailed above. To ensure fairness, there may be some situations where one spouse receives a larger share of the marital estate. For example, if one spouse earns a significantly higher income, and the other spouse is a homemaker and stay-at-home parent, it may be necessary to divide property unequally, ensuring that the spouse with a lower income will have the financial resources needed to support themselves going forward.

Contact Our Milwaukee, WI, Property Division Lawyers

If you have concerns about how your marital property will be divided during your divorce, it is crucial to seek professional guidance from an experienced divorce lawyer. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our knowledgeable Milwaukee  marital property division attorneys understand the complex factors that may affect these matters in Wisconsin. We can help ensure that the law is applied correctly, and we can work to resolve disputes, ensuring that your property is divided as fairly as possible. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to arrange a free consultation and get the representation you need.