Generally, community property is defined as a type of ownership between a husband and wife in which each spouse owns an undivided one-half interest in each item of property acquired during marriage, except property that is acquired by gift, devise, descent or personal injury. Title is not determinative: placing the property in the name of one spouse does not overcome the presumption that property acquired during the marriage is community property. Property acquired out of earnings during the marriage is presumed to be community property, as well.
For Wisconsin, community property is referred to as “marital property” and is codified in Wisconsin Statutes chapter 766. Effective January 1, 1986, Wisconsin became the 9th state to make community property the core law for property ownership and control in marriage. All nine states’ community property laws differ in some respects, but in all cases title no longer controls ownership.