Complex Property Division
Over the course of a marriage, couples may acquire significant assets, including homes, savings, and retirement accounts. Former spouses may also have assets they brought with them into the relationship that later become part of the marriage. During a divorce, determining how to divide these complex assets can become difficult and contentious if the parties do not agree. At Reddin & Singer, our family law lawyers have over two decades of experience helping Milwaukee couples identify marital assets, determine how these assets should be distributed, and evaluate what they are worth. We work to ease your burden by handling this process on your behalf.Identifying Marital Property
In an ideal situation, a divorcing couple will successfully agree to the division of their assets in a peaceful manner, often set forth in a marital settlement agreement. However, when relations are less amicable it may be necessary to use the court system in order to obtain property that is rightfully yours. The first step in this process is identifying what property in a relationship is marital.
Wisconsin law presumes that all property in a marriage is communal, or marital, property. This includes property and assets obtained during a marriage and assets that belonged to one spouse prior to the marriage but that later became part of the marital property. However, in some circumstances a spouse may argue that certain property was his or hers before the marriage began and has remained separate throughout the duration of the marriage. This is called separate property. It is the burden of the spouse claiming separate property to prove that it belongs to him or her alone. This typically requires evidence of how the property was obtained and how it was managed throughout the marriage. When separate property is established, it will not be considered in the division of assets during a divorce.
Additionally, if a prenuptial agreement exists that identifies specific property as belonging to one party, this will usually result in the exclusion of this property from the marital division, unless the prenuptial agreement is itself contested.Dividing Assets Between Spouses
Wisconsin is a community property state, which means that courts heavily favor an equal division of assets during a divorce. However, adjustments may be made as appropriate based on a variety of factors considered by the courts. Under Wisconsin law, courts may consider, among other factors:
- Length of marriage
- The property that each spouse brought into the marriage
- Whether either spouse is in possession of substantial separate property
- Each spouse’s earning capacity
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
If a couple has been married for an extended period of time, difficulties may arise in determining the value of complex assets and fairly dividing these assets. If you are dealing with this problem, it is very important to contact a divorce attorney with extensive experience in property division.
Common complex assets include extensive real estate holdings, such as rental units, family businesses, stocks and mutual funds, and retirement plans. For each of these types of assets, a professional appraiser may be utilized in order to determine the accurate value of property, taking into account any debts that may exist. It is your best interest to engage in a full appraisal so that you are able to support your property division requests with extensive evidence.Consult a Milwaukee Lawyer for Guidance on Divorce
At Reddin & Singer, we understand that certain property or assets may hold not only financial value, but also sentimental value to individuals going through a divorce. Perhaps your family home is where you raised your children and have your most cherished memories. Or you may have artwork or items you inherited that are of special importance. Our divorce attorneys are here to help you hold onto these important items and determine their rightful value in Wisconsin courts. We assist Milwaukee individuals in the process of dissolving a marriage and can help you reach a solution to your property concerns, no matter how complex the issues may be. For more information, contact us at (414) 271-6400 or online.