How Are Assets Divided in a Wisconsin Divorce?

If you’re facing a divorce in Wisconsin, asset division is a primary concern and can become very challenging. While Wisconsin is a community property state – which means marital assets are generally divided evenly between both spouses upon divorce – there is plenty of room for complications to arise. If you’ve made the difficult determination that you need to file for divorce or if your spouse has already served you with divorce papers, don’t wait to consult with an experienced Wisconsin divorce attorney.

The Equal Division of Your Marital Assets

Those assets that you and your spouse came to own as a married couple are considered marital assets that are owned equally by both of you. It doesn’t matter which spouse purchased the asset, which spouse uses it, or which spouse’s name is attached. If you acquired it while you were married, it’s marital, and the same goes for debt acquired during the marriage.

In Wisconsin, property division involves dividing these assets – as offset by marital debts – between the spouses equally upon divorce. The only exceptions to the marital property rule are any gifts or inheritances received by one spouse alone during the marriage.


For the division of marital property in Wisconsin, property refers to anything that has value – whether positive or negative – and that can be bought or sold, including:

  • Your family home and any other property
  • Your vehicles
  • Your household items, including furniture
  • Your bank accounts and cash
  • Retirement accounts, including pension plans and 401(k)s
  • Business ownership
  • Financial tools, such as stocks and bonds
  • Life insurance policies that have cash value
  • Patents
  • Artwork
  • Jewelry
  • Collections

Separate Property

Separate property refers to the assets and debts that either spouse owned prior to marriage and brought with them into the marriage. These assets remain the separate property of the spouse who owned them to begin with, as long as they aren’t commingled with marital assets over the course of the marriage. For example, using marital funds to maintain a separate asset can negate its separate nature.

When properties become mixed in this way, they’re generally treated as marital assets, which are divided evenly between divorcing spouses. Only when a mixed asset can be clearly traced back to its separate state will the court consider it anything other than marital. If the asset is deemed mixed, the court will calculate which portion is separate and which portion is marital prior to dividing.

Consult with an Experienced Wisconsin Divorce Attorney Today

The division of marital assets has the potential to become very complicated very quickly, and the seasoned divorce attorneys at Nicholson Goetz & Otis, S.C. – proudly serving Madison – have the experience, focus, and drive to skillfully advocate for a division that protects your financial rights and supports your financial future. Your case is important, so please don’t put off reaching out and contacting or calling us at 608-557-4577 for more information about what we can do to help you today.