As of 2015 the main difference between California's community property law and Wisconsin's marital property law is that in California a registered domestic partnership creates community property obligations, whereas in Wisconsin this only applies to marriage, reports the IRS. Additionally, the legal details of property characterization agreements differ.
Because California and Wisconsin are both community property states, there are many similarities in community property rights and obligations during marriage, the handling of separate property acquired before and after marriage, and debt obligations before and after marriage, states the IRS. However, in Wisconsin, marital property consists of income and other assets that a couple acquires after marriage, according to the State Bar of Wisconsin. California considers income, possessions, other assets and debt acquired during a domestic partnership to be community property, and these are subject to legal property division as if the partners were married, reports the Judicial Branch of California.
Wisconsin refers to property characterization agreements in which partners agree on the separation of assets as marital property agreements. California calls these premarital, post-marital, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, according to the IRS. In Wisconsin all such agreements must be in writing. In California prenuptial agreements must be in writing, but only postnuptial agreements having to do with real estate must be in writing.