Wisconsin is a marital or what is sometimes called a community property state. Nationally, there are only nine states with this status including :: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Washington and Alaska is an "opt-in community property state" where both parties have the option to make their property community property. This means that property and other assets acquired during the marriage with the exception of inheritances and gifts not co-mingled is the property of both spouses.
If one spouse inherits money and chooses to buy a sports car titled only in their name...it is solely their own car. If that inheritance is used to pay off a house owned jointly, the funds have been co-mingled and are marital property.
When divorcing couples sell a home, the assumption by each spouse, is that each will get half the proceeds of the sale. Many times, that may be true. As the only Realtors in Wisconsin certified in divorce...we know that everything has to be "third party and legally verified" before any money changes hands in a real estate transaction and there can be no "assumption" that proceeds are divided equally. There may be other considerations for property division including other assets....stock, other income or vacation property, personal property, pensions and retirement accounts that are also divided and may mean that the proceeds from the house are not 50/50 in light of other asset division. The division also applies to debt and expenses be it credit card balances, college expenses, insurance and medical expenses, etc. The entire financial picture must be evaluated, and as importantly, agreed to by both parties.
The sale of marital property can take place during the divorce or after the divorce is final. Whenever the property closes, it is required that there either be a court order or mutually signed legal agreement that determines the percentage of proceeds for each spouse. If a divorce is not complete, both lawyers may schedule a settlement conference to reach agreement on property division.
What if an agreement is NOT
reached when the house is sold ?
In the event that parties cannot agree, we instruct one of the attorneys to give us a letter with the name of their firm's trust account and the money will be held (much like earnest money) until there is mutual agreement or court ruling for distribution of the funds.
If you or anyone you know is divorcing in southeastern Wisconsin including the counties of: Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington, Ozaukee, Walworth, Jefferson and Dodge...Call the Hansons...the ONLY Realtors certified in traditional and collaborative divorce, honored to be of service.