– from Raymond F. in Polk, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I have agreed to a divorce. We have agreed on a many things, however, we cannot settle on property that was purchased through finances obtained from inherited property. I inherited a bed and breakfast that was owned by my mother before she passed. The property is solely in my name and managed solely by me. A portion of the income from the bed and breakfast goes into our joint account, but the rest goes into my personal account. She has a personal account, too. I have purchased many things with money from my personal account. Sure we both use that property, but does that make it divisible marital property?

Family Law Attorney Response:

First, I'm glad to hear that you both have been able to talk and negotiate with one another. More often than not, divorce discussions are not that amicable. To answer your question, yes, it may be considered divisible marital property. Even though the property was purchased with personal money, it may be considered joint property if you both have had use of it. This is known as co-mingling assets. There are many other reasons that it could be considered joint property, as well. It would actually depend on the specifics of your situation.

In the case of Arneson v. Arneson, 120 Wis. 2d 236, 355 N.W.2d 16 (Ct. App. 1984), the court decided to exclude the inherited property from the divisible property, and therefore excluded property purchased through the offspring of these funds. The wife appealed this decision, and the decision was reversed. The court stated that property obtained through the financial means of excluded property is, in fact, divisible.

        If you have any additional questions on inherited property please call me.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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