The Importance of a Financial Disclosure Statement

July 6, 2020 Property, Debt, & Finances

When going through a divorce or legal separation, one of the most important documents you will need to complete is a financial disclosure statement under oath. In Wisconsin, there is a strong emphases on the importance of this financial disclosure statement, which is to be completed by both parties on an annual basis.

Financial Disclosure Statements Are Required by Law

The filing of a financial disclosure statement is required by law under s.767.127. It must contain all sources of income, estimated monthly expenses, a listing of all assets, both real and personal property, as well as s listing of all debts.

Under Wisconsin law, the financial disclosure is required to be filed within 90 days of the filing and service of the initial summons and petition, or as otherwise directed by the court. It is also to be updated prior to the date of the hearing.

What Happens if You Don’t File This Statement?

Failure to file a financial disclosure statement as required by statute, can result in the court accepting  as accurate any information provided in the financial statement of the other party or as obtained by s.49.22 (2m) by the department or the county child support agency under s. 59.53(5).

In our office, we ask the client to take the form home and start working on it right away at the inception of the divorce. This way we can check the accuracy of the information submitted, and we ask the client to provide 2 years of their complete income tax returns as well as current check stubs to verify their gross and net monthly income. We also ask for recent investment statements and retirement benefit statements.

Some lawyers gloss over their client’s financial disclosure statement and don’t spend any time with the client to make sure the information is accurate and complete, including the client’s math calculations on how they computed their gross and net monthly income.

How Karp & Iancu Can Help?

In our office, we will meet with our client before court to make sure that all information contained in the financial disclosure statement is accurate, that the information is complete, and run our own math computations to double check that gross and net monthly income have been computed correctly.

Since the financial statement can affect child support, maintenance, debt allocation and property division as part of the divorce, a party going through a divorce must prepare this document for court with great accuracy and concern.

Further, since the document is signed under oath subject to perjury, a party is under a duty to make all sources of income, all assets and debts are fully disclosed. Even during an uncontested divorce, where the parties are looking to end the marriage without litigation, a financial disclosure statement is still necessary. 

If you have questions about completing a financial disclosure statement when going through a divorce, contact the experienced family lawyers at Karp & Iancu today.