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Do you have to split things evenly in a community property state?

You and your spouse have lived together for a long time, and you've both decided that it's now time to split up. As you get ready to start your divorce, you've come to realize that you have many assets that once belonged to you that your spouse wants to keep as their own.

Wisconsin is a community property state. That means that you and your spouse will split your property evenly. The court does expect that you share your property as close to 50-50 as you can -- unless you and your spouse are able to work out another arrangement.

This can make things complicated. For one, you don't know which items are your separate property and which are their separate property. Second, you feel like you put in more money into your marriage, so you should take more of the assets.

These are issues that your attorney can help you start to work through. In a community property state, it is true that you are able to negotiate with your spouse and come up with a different separation and property division agreement. It may be hard to get your spouse to agree, though, since they are essentially guaranteed 50% of the marital estate by going to the court. If you intend to negotiate, it's smart to take the time to write down solid reasons for asking for more than 50% of your assets.

Our website has more on property division and how you can make your divorce easier. Property division disputes can drag out a divorce and make the process more costly, so it's best for everyone if an agreement can be reached sooner rather than later.

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