Financial Disclosure Statements in an Uncontested Divorce
In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree to end the marriage without litigation. Sometimes, they may even have laid out what each spouse will walk away with from the marriage. So why does each spouse have to share financials with each other?
Why You Need a Financial Disclosure Statement
There are two reasons for this. The first reason is because it is required by law. Wis. Stat. § 767.127(1) requires parties to file a financial disclosure statement, either jointly or independently. The statute also includes specific financials that parties should disclose, including but not limited to real estate, savings accounts, stocks and bonds, mortgages, life insurance, retirement interests, business interests, and debts and liabilities. The court has a standard form, Form 4139-V, which includes the financials listed in the statute.
The second reason is debt. Debt is a hidden danger that the financial disclosure statement can shine a light on. Wisconsin is a community property state, which means that any property or assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property, and upon divorce, may be split equally among the parties. This includes debt. Even if both parties agree to walk away from the marriage with what they came in with (e.g., each takes care of their own student loans) the couple may have marital debt.
Therefore, even in an uncontested divorce, the financial disclosure statement enables complete transparency of both parties’ finances, both good and bad. If you are looking for more information about why a financial disclosure statement is important, we discuss it further in another article.