If you are contemplating the dissolution of a marriage, you likely have an idea of what you can expect from this process. After all, you have probably watched divorce play out on television or in movies, or you may have family members or friends who have already gone through it.
However, watching someone else’s divorce from the outside is not the same as going through this type of family law proceeding yourself. One of the biggest sources of conflict in any divorce proceeding in Wisconsin is property division, especially if you and your spouse have high-value assets.
When a marriage comes to an end, the property that the two spouses share must undergo property division. Marital property refers to any property that the spouses acquired in the course of their marriage. This property includes assets such as retirement accounts, cars and houses, for example, but it also includes debts. One may consider any property that either party acquired before the marriage as separate property that will not need to undergo division.
What does the court do?
The divorce court will try to divide you and your spouse’s marital property in an economic way. This means the judge will inquire into your financial circumstances and future financial plans, along with other important matters, in an effort to distribute the property in as equitable a way as possible.
Even though the court’s goal during the divorce process is to achieve equitable distribution, the dissolution of a marriage cannot achieve a mathematically equal splitting of property. The judge will simply make a decision based on the limited information and time he or she has available. Unfortunately, the judge’s decision may not necessarily be in line with what you would prefer.
Divorce property division in Wisconsin is unpredictable. For this reason, you may prefer to take part in informal negotiations with your soon-to-be ex outside of court. For instance, perhaps you really want to keep the family home, but you consider keeping the business to be even more important to you. In this case, you may agree to give up the house in favor of maintaining the business. The goal in this situation is to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with your future ex without further court intrusion.