– from Andrea J. in Franklin, WI

Question Details:

I have been married to my husband for almost 30 years. After we were married for about 10 years, he inherited a sizable piece of land. We spent years building cottages and using it as a recreational attraction. We both quit our jobs and have made a very decent living managing the property. We are now discussing the terms of our divorce, and we cannot agree on the division of the property. Is the land my husband inherited included as joint marital property?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is actually a difficult question to answer. In some instances, inherited property is not included as a part of marital property. In other cases, due to the surrounding reasons, it is absolutely divisible. Basically, it is up to the courts discretion and based on many factors.

In the case of Asbeck v. Asbeck, 116 Wis. 2d 289, 342 N.W.2d 750 (Ct. App. 1983), the wife was ultimately awarded the savings accounts, stocks, and insurance policies. They awarded the husband the inherited property and their home. In this instance, the property itself was not divisible, but due to its worth, the value was considered in the distribution of the joint assets. There are also cases where the property itself is divided between the two parties, however, this usually implies a shared interest in the property.

My advice is to contact a family law attorney and explain your situation in full detail. He/she will be able to help you through the process, while explaining to you the best course of action.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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