Is gifted real estate considered marital property in Wisconsin? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Robin L. in Whitefish Bay, WI

Question Details:

During my marriage, my mother gifted me some real estate. It was not an inheritance. She just wanted me to have a portion of her real estate so I could begin to make my own money. I then sold the real estate and invested in new property. I made no income other than money to pay property taxes. Now that I am beginning the first stages of divorce, my husband believes that he should own half of the property or half of their worth. Is gifted real estate considered marital property?

Family Law Attorney Response:

As a general rule of thumb, gifted property is usually not considered by the courts to be divisible marital property. However, it all depends on how that property is used during the marriage. If the property is used for joint purposes, then it may give your husband a stake in the property to an extent. If he had no stake in the property, and it was a personal venture, then it would not be considered divisible property.

In the case of Wierman v. Wierman 130 Wis. 2d 425, 387 N.W.2d 744 (1986), a similar situation was brought before the courts. the trial court excluded the wife’s interest in the real estate venture gifted to her by her father from the marital estate to be divided. The husband appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed. He petitioned the supreme court for review, and the supreme court affirmed.

My advice would be to consult a family law attorney before proceeding any further in order to review the details of your case.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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