Wisconsin is among one of the nine states in the country that embraces community property law in a divorce. This form of property division is intended to make separation as equal as possible, helping spouses receive their fair share of property acquired during marriage. Unfortunately, divorce is rarely straightforward, particularly if one spouse attempts to divide assets that are your personal property. To protect your personal property in a divorce, it is crucial to hire a skilled and experienced divorce attorney who can help you navigate the complexities of property division and ensure you are able to retain what is rightfully yours.
Below are some tips regarding ways in which you can protect your personal property in a divorce:
Create an inventory of your valuables: The things you own are not just possessions; oftentimes, they have meaning and sentimental value. To protect these items and prevent them from ending up on the chopping block, you should create an inventory. Anything that was given directly to you, such as jewelry or heirlooms that have been passed down through generations of your family, belong to you. List and photograph all of these items and, after properly cataloguing them, move them to a safe place since it might be difficult to go back and retrieve them if you choose to leave the marital home.
Obtain proof of inherited possessions or gifts: Having proof that verifies which items were given specifically to you will make it a lot easier to keep them. Ask a family member who gave you the item to provide written proof that provides as many details as possible, including when it was given to you.
Rightfully obtain your personal property from your home: In the event that you out of your marital home, this does not mean you can never get your personal property back from it, even if your spouse changes the locks. Unless there is a court order that gives your spouse ownership, you can go back to your home and take your personal belongings. You can also lawfully retain the assistance of a locksmith to help you get inside your home to retrieve your property.
Understand the status of all property: For big ticket items that are personal property, such as motor vehicles or real estate, make sure you obtain records of them. You should know if your spouse placed a lien against property holdings, deposited money in alternate accounts, or if there are any outstanding tickets or registration payments on your car.
Hire an appraiser to assist you: To help guarantee all parties are being fairly compensated, hire a professional appraiser to review your real estate and other valuable assets. He or she should assess everything of value, including joint businesses. You should also never hesitate to make use of your attorney’s experience. They can suggest professionals whom they believe are trustworthy and effective.
Make copies of all important documents: You are going to need copies of all important documents, such as the past three years of tax returns and your savings and investment account statements, before you leave the marital home. Your attorney can obtain these through subpoenas, but it is faster to accomplish this if you take care of it before the process begins.
Divorce Attorney in Madison, Wisconsin
If you and your spouse have decided to move forward with a divorce, it is important that you retain the legal assistance of a skilled divorce attorney to help you navigate this process. At Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel, S.C., our Wisconsin divorce team is experienced in helping clients determine what assets are included or excluded from the estate and how to protect personal property. Reach out to us today.
For compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation, call (608) 765-1001 to set up an initial consultation.