Marital property is generally defined as any property or asset which was obtained during the marriage by either one or both spouses. Marital property may also be any income generated through earnings or stemming from one or both spouses property or assets. It is also considered to be marital property when it concerns property which has been reclassified from non-marital property to existing marital property by some definition of the Act.

Expectancy does not constitute property. Only physical assets which are fully owned by one or both spouses can be considered as marital property. Partially owned property may constitute property, but the remaining debt owed on said property will also be considered for division of responsibility.  Also, property that is titled in a trustee spouse’s name that has physical charge of the property for a beneficiary of a trust which has been organized by a third person is not defined as marital property.

marital propertyThe definition of property includes any proposed interest in present, future, legal, equitable, vested or contingent personal property. This wide-ranged definition does include any contract rights or beneficial interests, such as any and all interests in trusts.

For assets to be considered for marital division, the spousal relationship must be defined under the laws of Wisconsin as a marriage that is a lawful relationship between two persons who owe one another equal responsibility and/or support.

Section 766.31(3) states that both spouses have an undivided fifty percent interest in each item which is deemed marital property. A given spouse’s interest vests when the property is obtained, which differs from an expectancy of property which becomes vested property interest at a later event, like a death of a spouse or the dissolution of the marriage.

Marital property is considered to have been obtained by a spouse by either income or effort.

If you have any questions about marital property, it's important to call a good family lawyer who knows the law.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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