Not everything you own will be up for division when you call it quits in your marriage. Wisconsin courts differentiate the marital assets from your separate property when dividing the marital estate between a divorcing couple. It may seem confusing, but it is pretty straightforward.
Any property you owned before the marriage is considered separate property, and it remains unaffected by the divorce.
On the other hand, assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and must be divided equally between the divorcing couple. These include the house, retirement benefits, bank accounts, and so on. Debts acquired during the marriage also form part of the marital estate and need to be divided. Inheritances and gifts received during marriage are typically regarded as separate property.
Commingling assets could change their status
There are certain instances where the separate property can become part of the marital estate. For example, if you deposit money you received as a gift in the family bank account, it can be deemed to be part of the marital estate.
Hiding assets is illegal
You might be tempted to hide some assets in a bid to keep them to yourself, but it is not worth the risk. If caught hiding assets, a court could award your spouse a greater share of those assets.
You need to be forthcoming with all the financial information requested by the court. Equally, you should be fully involved in the property division process to protect your interests. Remember, the outcome of the property division will have far-reaching effects years down the line, which is why you should get help to understand how property division works.