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Challenges When Dividing the Marital Home in a Wisconsin Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Milwaukee, WI asset division lawyer for the marital homeBy Attorney Max Stephenson

When a couple decides to get a divorce in Wisconsin, they will need to prepare to divide all of their marital property. For many couples, the marital home is both the most valuable and the most difficult asset to divide. As you face the challenge of dividing your home, you should be aware of your options under Wisconsin law and the potential implications of your decisions.

Concerns About Marital Home Division

In a Wisconsin divorce, all of the following can have significant implications on how a couple’s home is divided:

  • Classification of marital and non-marital property. In Wisconsin, assets acquired before and during the marriage are typically considered to belong to the marital estate, and this often applies to the home in which the couple lives. However, if the home was owned by one of the spouses prior to the marriage, it could be considered non-marital property, meaning that it could be excluded from property division.
  • Presumption of equal division. Wisconsin law presumes that each spouse has an equal interest in all marital property, and therefore, assets should be divided evenly in a divorce, unless there is a valid reason not to do so. In some cases, it may be necessary to sell the home before the divorce in order to evenly divide its value.
  • Value of other assets in the marital estate. If there are other assets of significant value belonging to the marital estate, such as investments, businesses, and other real estate property, it may not be necessary to sell the home in order to achieve an equal division. Instead, one spouse may be able to keep the home while ceding a greater share of other assets to the other spouse.
  • Physical custody arrangements for children. In order to help children adjust to a divorce and continue their accustomed routine regarding school and other community activities, a Wisconsin court may decide that it is best for the parent with a larger share of physical custody to continue living in the family home. This may mean that ownership of the home will be awarded to that parent, or the parent may be allowed to live there temporarily.
  • Debts and financial obligations connected to the home. If there is an outstanding mortgage on the home, a spouse who keeps the property in the divorce will usually also become fully responsible for that debt. In this case, it will be necessary to refinance the loan to remove the other spouse’s name. Additionally, the spouse who keeps the home will need to be prepared to pay property taxes and expenses related to utilities and upkeep.

Contact a Milwaukee Divorce Attorney

In order to give yourself the best chance of achieving your desired outcome regarding your home and other marital property, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown LLP, we will advise you on your options and help you represent your interests throughout the divorce process. Contact a Waukesha County property division lawyer today at 414-271-1440 to request a free consultation.

Sources:

https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/767/vii/61

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/mortgages/how-to-split-home-value-in-divorce

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