If you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, you may be wondering how your property and assets will be divided. Wisconsin is one of nine states that follow community property laws to divide up marital property in a divorce. Under these laws, the court will divide your marital property and any marital debts evenly between the spouses.
In order to determine whether an asset/debt will be split between you and your spouse, you will have to determine whether it is considered marital or separate property. Simply put, marital property refers to property acquired during the marriage, while separate property refers to property that belongs to only one spouse.
Marital property typically includes any wages earned by either spouse during the marriage, the family home, and assets purchased with marital funds. Separate property typically includes property that one spouse owned individually before the marriage, as well as gifts and inheritances given to only one spouse before or during the marriage. Any debts that were assigned to one spouse in a contract or proceeds from a personal injury suit where only one spouse was involved are also considered separate property.
While most assets and debts are considered either marital or separate property, some property is considered partial community property. For example, an asset that started out as separate property could later become marital property due to a commingling of funds.
It is important to note that community property laws do not dictate that all marital property must be split 50/50 in a divorce. The court will consider a number of factors when determining how to divide the property, including the earning capacities, health, future inheritances of both spouses, as well as the size of the estate.
A family law attorney in your area can review your assets and debts and help you acquire the things that mean the most to you in your divorce.