If you are getting divorced, dividing your property can a daunting and contentious aspect of the process. This is especially true if parties have no understanding of property laws or have misconceptions about how the process works. As such, it can be valuable to understand some basic information regarding how the process works in Wisconsin and what you can expect.
Understand community property
All the assets and liabilities acquired during your marriage will likely belong to the community i.e. both of you, and thus will be considered marital property. However, inherited property and gifts from third persons to one of the spouses alone are not considered marital property.
In accordance with Wisconsin property division laws, marital property is subject to equal division between the two parties. This reflects the fact that both parties are equal owners of the property. As such, most divisions will be a 50/50 split. Again, though, there are exceptions.
How to divide property
To divide property, you must first categorize the property. This means determining whether or not it is marital property. This can be complicated, especially if there are complex assets like business ownership or property that originally came from a gift or inheritance but then became marital property. However, an attorney can help make the process easier.
You will then assess the value of the property and divide it so that both parties will exit the divorce with approximately half of the eligible assets.
You could make these determinations yourselves outside of court, or a judge can determine division if you cannot come to an agreement.
Disputes can and do arise during this process, whether it is a dispute over the value of an asset or accusations that someone is attempting to conceal assets. To resolve disputes outside of court, you can work with mediators, your lawyers and financial professionals to clarify complex issues and figure out a fair agreement. If these efforts are unsuccessful, a judge can resolve the dispute in court.
These are just a few basic elements of the property division process in Wisconsin. Hopefully, this information gives you a better idea of what you can expect from the process as well as a foundation to help you make informed decisions.