If you are considering divorce, one of your biggest worries may be how the court will divide the shared property. You may assume that a judge will somehow split assets equally.
However, in Wisconsin, the court has the discretion to distribute property in a way that is equitable, rather than equal. That is, in a way that is fair to both you and your spouse and that meets the needs of your children.
What property is divisible?
In general, all property and income that either you or your spouse acquired during the marriage become marital property that is divisible during a divorce. Exceptions may include personal gifts, inheritances, or property acquired before marriage and not mingled with shared marital assets.
What does the court consider when dividing assets?
If you and your spouse disagree about how to divide marital property, the court will distribute assets based on what it deems fair and reasonable. Factors a judge may consider include:
- The length of the marriage
- Economic and noneconomic contributions of each spouse to the marriage and family
- Waste of marital assets by either partner
- The age, education and earning capacity of each spouse
- Whether a custodial parent should be able to live in the family home with minor children
Do you have to go to court to divide property?
If you and your spouse have a reasonably amicable relationship and want to minimize legal costs, you may come to a property division agreement without a court hearing. However, if your relationship is antagonistic or abusive, or if you think your spouse may try to hide assets, divorce litigation may be necessary to ensure a fair distribution.