Marital Assets Often Overlooked in Divorce

Wisconsin is a marital property state, which means that all assets and debts that are a part of the martial estate are subject to a fifty-fifty division in divorce. Generally, it is fairly simple to identify marital assets and to determine how to fairly divide them. However, couples may overlook certain intangible assets when they are dividing the marital estate in their divorce.

Intangible assets may include credit card reward points, travel miles or hotel points, which are accrued during the marriage. Dividing these assets could be tricky given that they can be tied to the individual who was doing the traveling or tied to the credit card holder. One of the first steps to take when you and your spouse have credit card rewards, hotel points, or travel miles is to contact the company to determine their policy in dividing these assets. Remember, there may be fees associated with dividing these assets, so keep that in mind in determining how you would like to proceed. It is also important to keep in mind that some companies will not divide these rewards into two separate accounts.

However, many companies may assign a monetary value to the rewards points or travel miles.  If they do, you can determine if a buy-out of the other spouse’s interest in those rewards is the best option.  It may also prove helpful to assign a value to these rewards to gain a better perspective of how much you wish to argue over these assets. Determining the value may be difficult when the company that you have these rewards or points through does not assign a value.  In this case you may need help agreeing upon a value of these assets.

You may also want to consider how these assets were accumulated. For example, if you and your spouse have accrued a large amount of travel miles because you have a child attending college in another state, then agreeing to allocate the travel miles for the use of your child’s travel may be a creative way to resolve the conflict in dividing the travel miles. Or, perhaps there simply can be an agreement that the other spouse can use the miles to book a certain number of trips and how that will occur.

Another often overlooked asset are stock options or restricted stock options offered by one spouse’s employer. It is unusual for these options to be split between the parties, and usually requires either a buy-out of the value of the stock.  However, it can be very difficult to determine such value, or determining a method which would allow the non-employee spouse an opportunity to exercise the stock option through the employee spouse. There are several factors which also must be considered when dividing stock options, especially the tax consequences for both parties in exercising the options.

Another asset unique to Wisconsin that can be overlooked are Packers season tickets. It is common that season tickets be passed down generation to generation, and to be a highly coveted asset by Packers fans. If a spouse acquires Packers season tickets during the marriage, then those tickets are also subject to division as a marital asset, as they can stay in the family for years.

If you believe that you or your spouse have the types of assets as those mentioned above, or that you believe you need help identifying these assets and dividing them in your divorce, call us at (414) 258-1644 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.

4 thoughts on “Marital Assets Often Overlooked in Divorce

  1. What happens if I just discovered 10 yrs.later that my ex had everything taken out of the farm corporation .And put back in his name a month after our divorce.Including our cabin.During our marriage everything was put into a corporation.Owners of the corporation were my ex .And his mom and dad.So I couldn’t fight for much.We were married for 22 yrs.and had 2 children 1 of them totally disabled .Is there anything I can do to prove that he did all that so I couldn’t get anything from him.Or is it to late.We live in Wisconsin.Thank you

    • There is a statute which provides that you may reopen your judgment of divorce based upon newly discovered evidence. However, if the corporation was deemed to be excluded at the time of the divorce because he had no ownership in it, or because it was gifted to or from him, then anything that occurs with that property after the divorce is largely irrelevant. Now, if you could prove fraud of some kind, that is also grounds for reopening the divorce judgment. But, 10 years is a long time and the court may be unwilling to go back and doing anything about this after that length of time. You could consult with an experienced divorce attorney to review all of the facts and do a little research on this. But I cannot tell you with any certainty what your options would be without reviewing all of the evidence.

  2. What about Paid Time Off accrued during the marriage? Is that CP – eligible to be divided in WI?

    • It depends on the facts but if you are entitled to receive a lump sum payment for that, then yes, it would be considered a marital asset or marital income. If it is simply vacation time you have yet to take, I would argue that it is not a marital asset/income. And, if you receive the benefit later in paid time/income and are paying child support and/or maintenance, your spouse will receive the benefit anyway. Different courts may decide that issue in different ways, however. You should speak to an experienced divorce attorney about this issue.

We welcome your comments or questions. We will do our best to try to respond. However, please be advised that we cannot give legal advice in this forum and all communications are for general informational purposes only. Communication should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. This is an open forum and any information you provide may be posted and will not be held confidentially. By posting a comment or question, you are expressly giving consent for the publication of same. If you have any specific legal issues or concerns, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney in the county and state in which you reside.

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