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Asker
Posted over 2 years ago.

I know that a short-term marriage is one justification for unequal division. What other factors are relevant? My spouse chose to not to work at several points throughout our marriage (and was not at home caring for children.) My spouse also used drugs and engaged in domestic abuse. (I have a protective order.) Are these factors relevant?

Andrew Joel Golden
Andrew Joel Golden, Family Law Attorney - Milwaukee, WI
Posted over 2 years ago.

Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state, so the reasons for divorcing (domestic abuse, drug use) aren't relevant to that. I'm sure if you looked around enough you could find some clever divorce attorney who could spin those items into some justification, but my gut tells me most courts are going to say that your ex-to-be could have pushed little old ladies into oncoming traffic and it still doesn't justify screwing your ex on the division of property. Whereas you're looking at this from an emotional standpoint, you need to remove your feelings from the equation and focus on the pure financials.

As I said in my answer, the point is not to look for justifications; the point is to craft a Marital Settlement Agreement that both parties agree to, and the court won't get involved absent evidence of coercion. If you can't agree and go to trial on it, then your arguments should center around the "assets prior to marriage" argument, not the "he/she attacked me and smoked pot, so I deserve more" argument.

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Asker
Posted over 2 years ago.

Excuse me, sir. I never said anything about screwing my ex. I want a settlement that is fair to both of us, thank you very much.

Andrew Joel Golden
Andrew Joel Golden, Family Law Attorney - Milwaukee, WI
Posted over 2 years ago.

I wasn't suggesting you were saying that that was your intent. I'm saying that the court wouldn't view it as justifying an otherwise uneven distribution regardless of what argument a lawyer came up with.

As I said, when dividing the assets, focus on what a neutral person would say wasn't an uneven distribution. That's the safest way to ensure a court won't shoot the agreement down for some reason.