There are several different stages of a divorce. The division of property is one of the main things that divorcing couples must address.
If either party makes any significant purchases during the course of the divorce, it could have an impact upon the asset division process. There are a few key aspects to be aware of in regard to asset purchases during divorce in Wisconsin.
Community property state
Wisconsin is one of a few states that still subscribes to the community property standard. This means that during the divorce proceedings, the court tries to separate all communal, or marital, property equally. It is important to note that in the eyes of the court, spouses own everything equally, including debts. Therefore, any debts that either spouse acquires during the marriage become both spouses' debt to pay back during and after the divorce.
Use of separate assets
There are a few assets that the courts consider to be separate. Mostly, these properties are those that a person acquires before the marriage begins or after the separation is final. If a person uses these separate funds to make an asset purchase, it does not usually affect the proceedings.
Use of communal assets
On the other hand, when a divorcing spouse uses communal property for a large asset purchase during the divorce process, such as a new vehicle or furniture, the court must address the asset purchase. Typically, the court will count the funds used in the purchase in the calculation for the marital assets, then subtract that amount from the purchasing party's portion. In other words, the nonpurchasing party would receive a larger award amount in the division of assets.
Every situation is unique, and other factors may affect whether an asset becomes community property or remains separate property. Before making any major purchases, it may be wise to review the law or speak to an attorney.