Does abandonment affect division of marital property in WI? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Nancy C. in Merton, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I have technically been married for seven years. However, he walked out on me over two years ago without saying a word. I recently found out that he is living about 35 miles from me with another woman. All of the property that I am in possession of was acquired during our marriage, and now that we have made contact he wants half. During the last six months he was in the home, he gambled away most of our savings. I am looking to file for divorce, but I am wondering how his leaving affects the division of property?

Family Law Attorney Response:

In the case of abandonment, infidelity, or other marital misconduct such as willful destruction or waste of marital assets, the court may or may not factor this in when deciding the appropriate division of property. Current statutes state that misconduct should not be factored in. However, the court may take into account the contributions each party made during the marriage.

In Anstutz v. Anstutz, 112 Wis. 2d 10, 331 N.W.2d 844 (Ct. App. 1983), the wife was awarded the majority of the marital property and assets. The husband was ordered to pay the debts of both parties. The court had the authority to factor in the depletion of marital assets. Part of the judgment was later reversed upon appeal, however.

My advice would be to speak with an experienced family law attorney right away in order to discuss the specifics of your situation.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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