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Dividing complex assets in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2021 | Property Division |

Sometimes, a couple is splitting up amicably, and they have few assets to haggle over. However, that’s not always the case. High net worth individuals in Wisconsin should understand how the process for dividing complex assets works. Large estates, professional practices, other businesses and even retirement plans are examples of complex assets.

Wisconsin considerations

Wisconsin is one of the few community property states in the U.S. This means that the property of the couple will be divided equally during a divorce. The exes will also share responsibility for debts. In Wisconsin, it doesn’t matter who had more or less at the beginning of the relationship when dividing property during the divorce.

Retirement savings

In a divorce, retirement accounts and other savings instruments must be divided, too. Typically, this requires what’s known as a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO. This document is a court order and stipulates the way that accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s will be divided. Sometimes, the accounts won’t actually be divided until both parties in the divorce are retired.

It’s still advisable for couples to try to reach an arrangement on their own. For example, in some cases, a spouse will agree to take an asset like a home in place of part of a retirement account. In Wisconsin, if the parties reach an agreement amicably, the judge will typically sign off on an uncontested divorce.

It’s very important to discuss complex property division issues with an attorney to ensure a fair outcome. Accountants and financial planners are two other professionals who should be looped into those conversations. Doing so may help prevent issues further on after the couple splits.