When you are going through a divorce, you will be making several decisions that can impact your financial well-being now and for years to come. If you are involved in a Wisconsin divorce, you will want to know how to protect your fiscal interest. Here are 5 financial mistakes to avoid during your Wisconsin divorce:
- Not Being Aware of Your Finances
One mistake people sometimes make during a divorce is not understanding their finances. Maybe one partner earned the majority of the couple’s income and managed the household income and bills. It may also be that a spouse has been secretive about their financial activity. If you are involved in or are considering divorce, you will want to know as much as possible about your marital assets and debts. You will also want to gather account information and ensure that you have access to this type of data.
In addition, you will want to have a sense of what you will need to support yourself after the divorce. This will involve assessing your earning capacity, assets, and living expenses. The divorce court will be dividing your marital assets and making decisions that are designed to put each party in a relatively equal position where they can maintain their standard of living. A firm grasp of your financial needs and resources can help you make appropriate requests during your case.
- Failing to Disclose
In a Wisconsin divorce, both parties are required to make certain financial disclosures. This is legally required and will involve each person providing detailed information regarding their existing assets and debts. You will want to be certain that you state all mandated information and that you are aware of the details your ex should disclose. Wisconsin law requires that the disclosure forms be filed within a certain number of days after the case is initiated. The information contained in the financial disclosures must also be updated at the time of a court hearing. Failure to disclose information fully or honestly can lead to criminal and civil penalties. Additionally, if an asset is deliberately not disclosed, the court may end up awarding it to the other party.
- Not Properly Valuing Assets
During a Wisconsin divorce, the court is charged with making an equitable distribution of the couple’s marital assets. Wisconsin is a community property state meaning that outside of certain exceptions, what a couple has brought to, earned, and acquired during the marriage belongs to them equally. However, some assets will have to be awarded to one spouse or the other. The alternative is to sell the property and have the couple divide the proceeds. You will want to be sure that your marital assets are properly valued so they can be equitably divided. To achieve an accurate valuation, you may need to involve an appraiser or agree upon a value based on a reliable external source.
- Letting Emotions Control Your Decision Making
Divorce affects almost every aspect of a person’s life. The process can be stressful and bring out sides of your personality you didn’t even know existed. Under these circumstances, it can be difficult not to let your emotions control your decision-making. However, making choices when you are upset can lead to costly mistakes. Additionally, you could end up unnecessarily prolonging your case.
The decisions you make during a divorce can impact you for years. Therefore, you will want to make them when you are calm and not in reaction to something your ex did or said that upset you.
- Keeping Assets You Can’t Afford
Another common financial mistake people sometimes make during a divorce is hanging onto assets they can’t afford. It’s important to consider your financial reality when dividing assets. For instance, you may want to keep your marital home but not have enough income to pay for upkeep or the mortgage. The same may be true of a vehicle with an existing payment. You want to make decisions that support your future financial well-being, even if that means giving up possessions and assets you love but can’t afford.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Family Law Attorney
Wisconsin Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law is an attorney and Mediator with the experience you need to help you with your Wisconsin divorce matter. If you have a family law case in Metro Milwaukee, Waukesha, or Brookfield, please contact us today and let us take a “first look” at your situation.