Every state mandates the laws that govern property division in a divorce.
Wisconsin is a community property state.
What is a community property state?
In a community property state, all marital property is subject to an even division, meaning both spouses get half in the event of an annulment, divorce or legal separation. Before this can take place, you must determine what property is marital and what is separate.
What is the difference between separate and marital property?
Property refers to anything with a monetary value, including debts, that you can buy or sell. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, furniture, clothing, pension plans, life insurance policies, businesses, cash and more.
Marital property, also known as community property, includes anything asset or debt acquired during the marriage. If either spouse purchases property while living in a state that does not have community property laws, Wisconsin still treats those assets the same.
Separate property refers to anything owned by a spouse prior to the marriage and gifts or inheritances given to one spouse from a third party. It does not apply to gifts spouses give to one another. Those are still subject to equal distribution.
What is mixed property?
Mixed property generally refers to property owned exclusively by one spouse prior to the marriage but then used marital funds after the marriage. For example, if one spouse had a retirement fund before marriage, and the other spouse started contributing to it after marriage, the court would determine what portion was martial and split that.
The process is much easier when both parties agree on asset division.