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The Do's And Don'ts Of Co-Mingling Wisconsin Marital Property Assets

How to keep gifts and inheritances from becoming Marital Property Assets in Wisconsin

One of the first things you’ll hear from a Wisconsin divorce attorney is that Wisconsin is a “community property” state. What does this mean for marital property and asset distribution? In essence, it means that the court views all of your assets as being jointly owned and will divide property and assets equally between spouses. This is true even if only one spouse is named on a deed, title, debt, etc.

Two of the exceptions to this rule relate to inheritances and gifts. In either situation, it is possible for the asset to be considered “individual” property and safe from division during a Wisconsin divorce, but you’ll need to document why the asset should be excluded.  You can do this by proving that it was kept separate from marital assets.

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Co-Mingling Assets

Even individual property can be considered marital property if it wasn’t managed in a certain way. If you receive a gift or inherit assets during the marriage and wish to keep those assets separate from the marital assets: DO:

  • create a separate bank account for those assets;
  • invest gifted or inherited funds in a separate investment or retirement account in your name only;
  • obtain proof/documentation from the estate of the deceased that specifically shows what was left to you;
  • obtain documentation of substantial gifts received stating that the gift was intended solely for you;
  • make sure that any gift received by you is given to you alone, and not also to your spouse.


  • deposit inherited or gifted funds into a joint bank or investment account;
  • use inherited or gifted funds to purchase marital assets or property;
  • hold title to an inherited or gifted asset in both your name and your spouse’s name;
  • pay marital debts with inherited or gifted assets.

A Word About Personal Injury Settlements and Marital Property

In some cases, personal injury settlements may be considered separate property. In order to avoid having personal injury settlements treated as joint property, follow the same guidelines for gifted or inherited assets to avoid the appearance of co-mingling.

Consult An Eisenberg Law Attorney For Wisconsin Divorce Advice

If you have been gifted or have inherited funds, property, or other assets and wish to keep them separate from marital property, consult a family law attorney at Madison’s Eisenberg Law Offices for advice on how to prevent co-mingling with marital assets. Call 608-256-8356 or email Info@EisenbergLaw.org to arrange a free consultation.


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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356