– from Joyce A. in Hartford, WI

Question Details:

My husband inherited property during his first marriage. During our marriage, I regularly cleaned and fixed up the property. It is in his name, but I repaired the property regularly. It is worth quite a bit more now because of my contributions, in my opinion. Is inherited property divisible if I contributed to its appreciation?

Family Law Attorney Response:

I cannot predetermine the courts final decision, but based on your details I would say that you do stand a good chance of receiving a stake in the property during the property division settlement.

This is seen in the case of Haldemann v. Haldemann 145 Wis. 2d 296, 426 N.W.2d 107 (Ct. App. 1988). Here we have a wife who inherited a farm during her first marriage. Her second husband made regular repairs and performed routine maintenance on the farm during their marriage. Upon divorce, the court decided that these acts did not substantiate a division of the increased value. The court of appeals reversed this decision based on the concept of “equitable distribution-partnership.” They saw the husband’s contributions to be great enough to justify interest.

I advise you to contact an attorney to go over your case in detail.

Lawyer Holly Mullin from Sterling Law Offices
Holly Mullin, J.D.
Family Law Attorney

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