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Do you have to divide your retirement account in a Wisconsin divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2022 | Property Division

Wisconsin’s status as a community property state requires a 50/50 division of marital assets and debts. The court may consider your retirement fund to be shared property if you contributed to the account during the marriage.

Learn more about the possible fate of your retirement account if you have considered divorce in Wisconsin.

Marital vs. separate property

Anything you own together with your spouse constitutes marital property. This category includes your home, real estate, vehicles, retirement and other bank accounts, home furnishings, art, and businesses. The court also considers income earned during the marriage to be marital property.

In Wisconsin, assets you owned before the marriage may be separate property. However, if you commingle marital and separate property, it becomes shared property. For example, if you start a retirement account before you meet your spouse but continue to contribute to the account after the wedding, the court may award him or her a portion of your savings.

Other considerations

If you have a retirement account that falls into the category of marital property, you must obtain its official value at the time of the divorce. When you opened the account before getting married and continued your contributions through the marriage, Wisconsin calls it a mixed asset and determines your spouse’s share using an established formula.

You may be able to offset your spouse’s share of your retirement account with other property. Some people negotiate a lower percentage of home equity or forgo other assets to retain control of their retirement investments.

The state also allows you to argue against a 50/50 asset split. The court will consider the length of the marriage and other factors.