What are the differences in community property between Minnesota and Wisconsin?

While Wisconsin is a community property governed state, years ago Minnesota decided not to convert from common law property to community property. Thus, in Minnesota, title does denote ownership. But even in most common law states, such as Minnesota, spouses that do not have title to property still have some "ownership rights" which come into play with vigor at time of divorce. In addition, surviving spouses in common law states usually have rights that protect them upon the death of a spouse who held title. These rights include rights to spousal maintenance, homestead rights, and (depending on the length of the marriage and the absence of a prenuptial agreement), elective share rights.

On the other hand, in Wisconsin, a surviving spouse already owns one-half of marital property even if the marital property is held just in the name of the other spouse. Accordingly, surviving spouses in Wisconsin are not granted elective share rights, because again, the surviving spouse already owns half.