Financial Disclosure Statements
Going through a divorce does not need to be overly complicated. The Wisconsin courts have worked hard to provide the state’s residents with publicly available overviews of the divorce process and easy-to-navigate forms. One of the principles central to the navigation of the divorce process, however, is the full and fair disclosure of information to both parties. Specifically, in order for the court to successfully determine how assets should be distributed between two divorcing spouses, the court must have access to all of the relevant financial information of both parties. With an incomplete picture, the court cannot be sure that the divorce is fair to both sides. For this reason, Wisconsin courts require divorcing parties to file financial disclosure statements that carefully lay out the assets and debts of each party. Milwaukee divorce lawyer Terese J. Singer understands the importance of following this process precisely and can help you make sure that your disclosure statement is thorough, as well as challenging your spouse’s disclosure statement if you believe that it is incomplete.Financial Disclosure Statements in Wisconsin
Wisconsin has a specific state form, the Financial Disclosure Statement, which parties must fill out during the course of a divorce. This statement, which is available online, requires the parties to detail the number of individuals in their household, their gross income, and all of the various forms of income that contribute to this gross income, including wages, rental income, social services payments, and child support, among other types of income.
Next, the parties must list all of their monthly expenses by category, including both large items like rent and smaller items like transportation costs. This helps to give the court a comprehensive picture of the income coming in each month and how it must be used to pay your bills and expenses.
In addition to assessing monthly financial circumstances, divorce courts are also interested in understanding the larger assets that individuals own and longer-term debts that they may need to pay off. This helps to determine how much financial stability each individual has.
To that end, the Financial Disclosure Statement also requires the parties to list physical assets, including art, household items, cars, and electronics equipment. The spouses must also list investments, stocks that they hold, real estate, cash on hand, and life insurance policies. The parties must then list any type of debt owed and the amount remaining to be paid. With all of this information, the court can attempt to fairly distribute the assets or evaluate one party’s claim that he or she is entitled to certain assets or payments from the other.What Happens if Disclosures are not Accurate?
Anyone can make a mistake, and if one spouse fails to initially disclose a certain asset or debt, it is unlikely to have a significant impact on a divorce. However, when one spouse intentionally tries to hide assets or income from the other spouse by failing to disclose them, this can result in serious punishment from the court.
In Wisconsin, if one party tries to hide an asset of $500 or more during divorce disclosures, he or she can be sanctioned for this conduct. This can involve requiring the party who hid the asset to hand it over in its entirety to the other spouse. Sanctions can also be imposed if a former spouse attempts to undervalue certain assets before the court, such as investments or stocks that the spouse has in his or her portfolio. For this reason, failing to disclose or undervaluing assets is never a good idea.Retain a Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney in the Milwaukee Area
If you are involved in a divorce that includes complicated assets or debts that need to be reported, you are unsure of how to prepare your financial disclosure statement, or you believe that your former spouse may be trying to hide assets, it is worth consulting with a divorce lawyer. At Reddin & Singer, LLP, our Milwaukee attorney can assist you throughout the divorce process, including preparing and evaluating financial disclosure statements and requesting certain assets or compensation before the court. Contact our office for more information online or at (414) 271-6400. We assist people in Milwaukee, Mequon, West Bend, Waukesha, Racine, and other communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, and Racine Counties.