Excluding gifts from property division in Wisconsin divorces | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Shawn Z. in Hartford, WI

Question Details:

When my parents passed away, they left to me their boat. My wife and I have used it together a few times, however we always said it was my boat and not the family’s. As a result, I have been the only person financially contributing to the boat. We decided it is in our best interest to file a divorce. However, I feel the boat should not be considered in our marital estates as it was given to me and I was the only one who cared for the boat. Can I make an argument of why the boat is solely mine?

Family Law Attorney Response:

After reviewing your details, I feel you have a strong argument for your boat to be excluded from the property division of marital estate.

In the case of Trattles v. Trattles, 126 Wis.2d 219, 376 N.W.2d 379 (Ct. App. 1985), one party received a gift from her parents in cash and gold. The party used the cash and gold to purchase household furnishings and expenditures. At the time of their divorce, the party requested that her gifts be excluded from the property division. However the trial court and court of appeals agreed it had to be included as the gift went towards the benefit of everyone for the family. Nonmarital property is only exempt from property division if it retains its identity and character.

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Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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