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The division of property is a part of all divorces. The difficulty of the process depends on what you and your spouse agree upon and what you don’t. In some cases, spouses can decide on their own which pieces of property they will allow each other to have. In other cases, it can be harder to agree and that means using mediation or allowing the court to decide property division.

If you are going through a divorce, the help of a Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin divorce lawyer can make property division a more bearable process. You will receive the guidance that you need throughout the process and will be given straightforward advice so you can make informed decisions.

Honest & Straightforward Guidance

Marital property is defined as property that is acquired during the marriage. All property that is acquired by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property.

Non-marital property is defined as property that is acquired outside of the marriage. In other words, property that is acquired before the marriage is considered non-marital. However, there are some instances in which property acquired during the marriage is considered non-marital. For example:

  • The property is acquired as a bequest, gift, or inheritance from a third party but not to the other spouse
  • The property was acquired by a spouse after the valuation date
  • A Prenuptial agreement excludes the property

The party making the claim will have to prove that a piece of property is non-marital property. If proof cannot be shown, then the property will be considered marital and will be included in any property division proceedings.

Guiding You Through The Division of Property

There are times when a piece of property has a marital and non-marital component. Real estate and retirement plans are examples of this. If that’s the case, then the non-marital interests may need to be traced.

When it comes to property division in Minnesota the judge must determine what allocation of property to each party is fair and equitable given the circumstances of the marriage.  When it comes to property division in Wisconsin the judge must start with the presumption that marital property is to be equally divided unless the parties can demonstrate that a different allocation is more fair and equitable. Regardless of the state that you live in it is a good initial general rule of thumb to presume that the parties will receive an equal share of property accumulated during the marriage.

Some of the most challenging and expensive divorces that we have been involved in are circumstances where one party is unfamiliar with the financial affairs of their marriage.  The evidence collection process can be a shocking experience to a spouse who is not familiar with the marriage’s finances.  Husbands and wives are strongly encouraged to make themselves familiar with all of the property owned during the marriage, which includes but is not limited to bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance policies, and debts, before consulting with an attorney about his or her case.  The less you know about your financial situation entering a divorce situation the more expensive the process will be.

All property, including debts, between parties is presumed to be marital and subject to division.  If there is non-marital property, as defined by Minnesota or Wisconsin law, then it is up to the person asserting that a particular piece of property is non-marital to prove that it is in fact non-marital and not subject to division.  Determining, also known as tracing, whether a piece of property is non-marital can be very complex, time consuming and expensive.  It is imperative to consult and retain a Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin Family Law Attorney if you believe you have non-marital property.

If a couple has incurred debt during their marriage, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt during the marriage, then it is not reasonable to believe that the debt will not be divided in some manner between the parties.  Before a divorce begins in Minnesota a spouse taking on debt is solely responsible for the incurred debt; the spouse not taking on the debt has no liability for it until a divorce action begins.  Before a divorce begins in Wisconsin both parties have equal liability for the debt incurred by his or her spouse under Wisconsin’s community property laws. Regardless of what state your divorce, legal separation, or annulment may take place in, subject to some exceptions, a spouse that takes more debt from the marriage is also more likely to take more assets from the marriage.

Your Northern MInnesota and Wisconsin divorce lawyer will help you through this process in order to remove as much stress as possible and to help you provide the court with all of the information that is needed to make a decision.

Contact A Northern Minnesota and Wisconsin Divorce Attorney

Property division is a very serious matter in that it can be agreed upon or decided upon by a judge. If you are facing divorce, it is important to secure the services of an experienced division of properties lawyer who can help you address such issues as property division. To learn about how the Benjamin Kaasa Law Office, PLLC can help you, call  218-464-3397 for a consultation.

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