– from Kevin Y. in Oak Creek, WI

Question Details:

My wife and I have been married for over 40 years. Before we were married, I inherited real estate. Over the years, my health has been steadily declining. I can no longer work. My wife works, but due to her failing health our doctor has suggested that she retire. She is already about to start collecting SSI and her pension. We are now getting a divorce and cannot agree on maintenance or property division. She is claiming a hardship without the added income from the real estate. Is inherited property divisible due to hardship?

Family Law Attorney Response:

In cases where it can be proven that a hardship is inevitable, yes, inherited property may be considered divisible.

This is seen in the case of Hughes v. Hughes 148 Wis. 2d 167, 434 N.W.2d 813 (Ct. App. 1988). In this situation, the husband owned inherited property, and his health was also in decline. His wife worked, but due to her emphysema, her doctor advised her to quit working. The court had decided on a 50/50 property division split, and counted the inherited property as distributable. The husband appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed.

I'd suggest that you contact an attorney right away to discuss the details of your case in greater detail.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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