– from Joan N. in St. Francis, WI

Question Details:

My husband and I were married for 20 years. In 2006 he inherited a lake-house. Together, the two of us worked diligently to clean up the lake-house in an effort to put it on the market. However, in 2008 we decided we wanted to keep the lake-house for our own use. Based on that decision, my husband named me as a joint-tenant on the lake-house. We are now filing for a divorce; can this lake-house be a marital asset?

Family Law Attorney Response:

While, I think more details are necessary surrounding your title on the lake-house deed, I can give you a broad overview of marital asset from a court of appeals case.

In Bonnell v. Bonnell 111 Wis.2d 337, 330 N.W.2d 237 (Ct. App. 1983), the court of appeals decided to give a better definition of the requirements necessary for something to be named a marital asset. In the division of property, transfer of title, in and of itself, is not sufficient to take property out of the exception. Evidence of an intention to make a gift must exist before deciding what property can be treated as a marital asset. If a spouse retains an interest of at least fifty percent of the fair market value of the property, his/her interest is separate and cannot be considered as a marital asset in the property division.

I know this may not completely answer your question, but give me a call so we can discuss more details and see if we can figure it out.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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