Community Property State: What it Means and How it Affects Your Divorce

community property state, property division agreement

The division of property in a divorce can be confusing and difficult to manage. This is especially true as states have different approaches and guidelines for how property should be divided in the circumstances of a divorce. If you are currently filing for divorce, you need to understand these regulations and what they mean for the division of your and your spouse’s property. Wisconsin is a community property state. Because of this, there are regulations already in place for how your property should be divided. Below are three frequently asked questions with answers to help you navigate divorce and property division.

What Does a Community Property State Mean?

Wisconsin is a community property state. This means that all property acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between each spouse. While this may seem like a clear-cut way to divide property, this process can become messy and confusing due to what constitutes as community property.

Community property includes all of the property each spouse have acquired throughout their marriage, even if only one spouse’s name is listed on the paperwork. Examples of community property include the house, cars, art, furniture, stock, bank accounts and even income. Basically, whatever you or your spouse has purchased or invested in constitutes as community property. However, there are some exceptions to this.

What Is Not Community Property?

There are a few exceptions to community property. The first is if you owned property before you were married. This is called individual or separate property. The only catch with this is that if your spouse put any time, work, or money into that property, they may be entitled to it as well. However, it is not guaranteed, and the results vary depending on the situation.

There are two other types of property that can be defined as individual property: receiving a gift sent specifically to you and inheriting property with only your name on the will. In these cases, you can keep this property in the divorce even if you acquired it during your marriage. However, if you comingled any money, for instance, by putting it into a joint bank account, your spouse may be entitled to it. If you have clear records, you may be able to keep the money and not divide it with your spouse.

How Does This Affect My Divorce?

Being in a community property state can either streamline the property division or make it more complicated. If you and your spouse have made a prenuptial agreement, you will follow that instead. However, if one spouse challenges the agreement, you may need to reach a settlement or go to court. Determining whether certain property is individual or community can be challenging. This is especially the case if the property changes from individual to community property. With all of the exceptions and stipulations involved, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced attorney to help you through this process.

Connect with Divorce and Family Law Attorney, Paul Santilli, Today

If you are in the middle of a divorce, you likely have a number of questions. By hiring Paul Santilli from Dahlberg Law Group, not only will all your questions and concerns be addressed but you will also receive the best legal counsel and representation in Wisconsin. With over 20 years of experience in family law, Paul has the experience and compassion to effectively represent you. He will take the time to understand your situation and plan the best course of action for your case.

Need to know more about what being in a community property state means for your divorce? Connect with Paul and set up a consultation today. He has the experience and dedication you need for your case.

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