Will my prenuptial agreement hold up in a Wisconsin court? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Kevin O. in Glendale, WI

Question Details:

When we first met, my wife and I both owned separate residences. Before we were married, we agreed to a prenuptial agreement, and then sold our residences. Our proceeds went into our personal accounts, but I used my money to put a down payment on the construction of our new home on a section of the lot where my old residence was located. This was many years ago and now we are getting a divorce. Is the house considered mine? Will our prenuptial agreement hold up in court?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is actually a very complicated question with no easy answer. It will ultimately depend on how the court views what is considered joint property. Even though you sold your respective homes and deposited the money in personal, separate accounts, the fact that you willingly used your share for a down payment on a jointly owned home may still qualify the new home for marital distribution. Prenuptial agreements protects your private property or finances in the events of a divorce, but when you willingly use that property for marital use, that property may be considered divisible.

In the case of Antuk v. Antuk 130 Wis. 2d 340, 387 N.W.2d 80 (Ct. App. 1986), a similar prenuptial case was heard before the courts. The court awarded the wife the husband the lot on which the new house was built. The trial court concluded that the wife was entitled to half of the net equity in the property, divided the value of the residence after the husband’s invested sale proceeds, and awarded the lot value equally between them. The husband appealed, and the court of appeals reversed the trial courts decision.

My advice is to contact a family law attorney right away to discuss the specifics of your case.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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