By Christopher Henry
If you are going through a divorce and either you or your spouse has received substantial assets by way of gift or inheritance, it is important for you to alert your attorney to this fact. Your attorney should then be able to make your best arguments in negotiations or trial as to whether the inherited or gifted assets should or should not be considered part of what will be divided between you and your spouse.
Under Wisconsin law, assets received through inheritance and assets received by gift (not including gifts given by one spouse to the other) are presumptively exempt from division. However, the Court may divide inherited property if it finds that not dividing the property will cause financial hardship to the other spouse.
The Court may also divide inherited property if it finds sufficient evidence that the spouse who inherited the assets or received the gift had the intent of treating the inherited or gifted asset as marital property. For instance, if a wife inherits $50,000 from her father but then puts the money into an account held jointly with her husband, the Court may well find that the wife intended for these inherited funds to be part of the overall marital estate and therefore subject to division by the Court. Even if inherited funds were only held in a joint account for a few days, there is the possibility that the Court may find the funds have lost their individual property status and deem them to be part of the marital estate to be divided in the divorce.
For additional information about this blog post or your family law related matters, please contact Henry Family Law Offices, LLC at (608)836-0980 or e-mail office manager – Laura Ayala at Laura@henrylaw.net.