The following is a summary of Wisconsin property division laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Wisconsin Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Separate Property.

Any property shown to have been acquired by either party prior to or during the course of the marriage in any of the following ways shall be considered that spouse’s separate property:

  1. As a gift from a person other than the other party.
  2. By reason of the death of another, including, but not limited to, life insurance proceeds; payments made under a deferred employment benefit plan, or an individual retirement account; and property acquired by right of survivorship, by a trust distribution, by bequest or inheritance or by a payable on death or a transfer on death arrangement
  3. With funds acquired in one of the two manners above.

-From 767.255 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Property Division Guidelines.

All property that is not listed above is considered marital property. The court shall presume that all marital property is to be divided equally between the parties, but may alter this distribution without regard to marital misconduct after considering all of the following:

  1. The length of the marriage.
  2. The property brought to the marriage by each party.
  3. Whether one of the parties has substantial assets not subject to division by the court.
  4. The contribution of each party to the marriage, giving appropriate economic value to each party’s contribution in homemaking and child care services.
  5. The age and physical and emotional health of the parties.
  6. The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other.
  7. The earning capacity of each party, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, length of absence from the job market, custodial responsibilities for children and the time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party to become self-supporting at a standard of living reasonably comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
  8. The desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for a reasonable period to the party having physical placement for the greater period of time.
  9. The amount and duration of an order granting maintenance payments to either party, any order for periodic family support payments and whether the property division is in lieu of such payments.
  10. Other economic circumstances of each party, including pension benefits, vested or unvested, and future interests.
  11. The tax consequences to each party.
  12. Any written agreement made by the parties before or during the marriage concerning any arrangement for property distribution; such agreements shall be binding upon the court except that no such agreement shall be binding where the terms of the agreement are inequitable as to either party. The court shall presume any such agreement to be equitable as to both parties.
  13. Such other factors as the court may in each individual case determine to be relevant.

-From 767.255 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Mixing Marital Property.

Mixing marital property with property other than marital property reclassifies the other property to marital property unless the component of the mixed property which is not marital property can be traced.

If one spouse contributed substantial labor, effort, inventiveness, physical or intellectual skill, creativity or managerial activity to either spouse’s separate property, that portion of the property can be considered marital property if reasonable compensation was not received for the contribution, and substantial appreciation of the property resulted from the contributions of that spouse.

-From 766.63 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Dividing Separate Property.

The court can divide separate property if it finds that refusal to divide the property will create a hardship on the other party or on the children of the marriage. If the court makes such a finding, the court may divest the property in a fair and equitable manner.

-From 767.255 of the Wisconsin Statutes.


***NOTE***: We regret that we CANNOT prepare divorce papers for Milwaukee County.


This information has been summarized from the Wisconsin statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Wisconsin divorce statutes online here: Wisconsin Divorce Laws.




IMPORTANT: Help Yourself Divorce is a paralegal service, not a law firm. Please don’t rely on this information for legal advice. Seek help from an attorney if you need legal advice.


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