How Inherited Property is Divided during a WI Divorce | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. How Inherited Property is Divided during a WI Divorce | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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 – from Diane U. in Summit, WI

Question Details:

I have been married for almost 15 years. About 10 years ago my mother passed, leaving me her home and two others. My husband and I took residence in the home and rented out the other two. He did most of the renovations on the two homes himself, and the rent was placed into our joint account. He claims that I verbally agreed that the 3 properties were “ours”, and that he should have ownership of half. Is my inherited property considered divisible?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This question is not easily answered.

Inherited property is not normally considered divisible because it is looked at as a gift to one party. However, the fact that you used the rent as a part of your joint income, and you both lived in the primary home, it can be looked at as you gave your husband a shared interest in the primary home. This may not be looked at in this light as far as the other two homes, unless your husband can prove a hardship would occur if he was denied a shared interest.

One scenario is seen in the case of Bonnell v. Bonnell. 111 Wis. 2d 337, 330 N.W.2d 237 (Ct. App. 1983), Reversed by 117 Wis. 2d 241, 344 N.W.2d 123 (1984). In this case, the wife inherited a resort consisting of 6 cottages. She had given her husband interest in the cottage in which they resided. The court then originally granted him two cottages, and her, four. This was later reversed because although she had given him interest in the primary cottage of residence, she did not give him interest in the other cottages and he could not prove that it would cause a hardship if they were not split.

My advice would be to contact a family law attorney to discuss the details of your situation. There are several ways this could play out depending on the specifics of your case.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
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