As a principle of marital property law, one spouse may not unilaterally divide or separate their interest in any assets that are considered to be marital property. They may not collect any proceeds of said assets as their own property, and then alter the character of the purchaser in regards to that individual’s title as a tenant in common with their spouse.
Although the act does not encompass the wording that specifically addresses this issue, it is understood that in regards to community property jurisdictions, these acts are prohibited. The prohibition can also be addressed and substantiated through case law or statutes.
Any attempts to reclassify the interest in any marital assets by unilaterally trying to cut any ties to the property in question is, in most cases, a futile cause. The only means by which marital property can be reclassified, is by way of the wording of the act itself. Examples are inter-spousal gifting and prearranged marital property agreements.
Reclassification methods can be found in §§ 2.283–.295. Unless the property or proceeds are classified under chapter 766. Wis. Stat. § 766.31(1), and unless one or both spouses reclassify their assets in a manner consistent with the act, all property or assets, including the proceeds of a sale, are considered joint marital property. Therefore, even if one spouse has the right of management and direct control over an asset of marital property, they cannot override the fact that each spouse has an equal interest or stake in the property or its proceeds.
It has been discussed in matters of law how community property and numerous common law property situations are sometimes assumed to be in line with partnership law. This is based on the sharing ideal, which “ownership of all of the economic rewards from the personal effort of each spouse during marriage is shared by the spouses in vested, present, and equal interests.” However, marriage is not considered to be a partnership in any technical legal sense. Marital property is unique among the laws of the common law system.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.