– from Billy T. in Mukwonago, WI

Question Details:

When my wife and I first got married, I purchased a car for us. I purchased the car with money that I received from a settlement a few years before that. The original deed has only my name on it and my wife put in some hours and money into the car, but the biggest payment is under my name. If I go through a divorce, will the car be exempt from marital assets or will it be included in the property division?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Thank you for your question. Generally, even though the deed is under your name, the car was purchased originally for family purposes, so there is a strong likelihood it will be under divisible property.

In the case of Torgerson v. Torgerson, 128 Wis.2d 465, 383 N.W.2d 506 (Ct. App. 1986), the court of appeals made a ruling regarding property where the payment was from exempt funds. If the first payment is the only payment made with exempt funds, Wisconsin statutes cannot exempt property purchased by a spouse with marital earnings; the only property exempted is gifts or inherited property.

I hope this answers your question. If you have any more or are looking for representation in your divorce, give me a call.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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