Yes. Wisconsin law requires both spouses to disclose all assets in a Wisconsin divorce. The purpose is to give each spouse full and fair knowledge of the finances. Each spouse will complete a standard form listing checking and savings accounts, CDs, retirement, vehicles, real estate, investments, debts, etc. All assets with a value greater than $500 must be disclosed, and the document is signed under oath and notarized. Notarized statements ensure that the spouses take their disclosure seriously.
These documents are usually updated and exchanged several times during a divorce case. They are often used as evidence if the case goes to trial, particularly if information was withheld or changed drastically from earlier versions. You should work closely with your Wisconsin divorce lawyer to complete the disclosure properly, and review your spouse’s disclosure for any red flags.
Listing an asset on the statement does not necessarily mean it will be divided in the property division. Each spouse can still make a claim for more than the presumed equal division. However, failing to list an asset creates mistrust, greater legal fees, and can lead to serious sanctions.
Nevertheless, I run into cases where a spouse tries to hide assets. In those cases, how do we locate hidden assets? Usually through the process of formal discovery. Typical discovery questions require the spouse to name all bank accounts, investments, debts, sources of income, etc. and provide supporting documents. The spouse must prepare the response and sign it under oath. Nine times out of 10, this approach works in a Wisconsin divorce. If not, the next step is to ask the judge to compel a response and impose sanctions on the non-cooperative spouse.
If that situation arises, however, there are several tools to resolve it. I encourage you to contact me if this problem arises in your Wisconsin divorce. I will work to efficiently resolve the problem and help with a fair outcome.