Not all married partners in Wisconsin are equally familiar with family finances. If divorce is inevitable, it can be important for these spouses to gather certain financial documents. This will help ensure that they fully understand their finances and the effects that divorce will have.

First, a soon-to-be ex should get copies of tax returns for the past three years and the W-2s or other paperwork that were used to prepare them. If there is a family business, try to get financial information on these assets. It’s also wise to gather three years of bank statements and credit card statements. With all of this information, a spouse can begin to understand spending habits up to this point and to put together a budget for after the divorce.

There are online tools that can help with this process by pulling information from the applicable accounts. When doing these calculations, be careful not to underestimate expenses. Some costs, such as those of health care and higher education, have far outpaced regular inflation.

A future ex can pull copies of their credit reports to review any joint financial obligations and accounts that should be closed. It is necessary to file a full financial accounting with the courts in case of a divorce. This includes retirement accounts, collectibles and investments.

A family law court in Wisconsin will attempt to divide property equitably in a divorce. However, going to court is not an inevitable part of divorce. Couples may also manage to successfully negotiate agreements on property division and child custody with the help of their attorneys. Some couples may come to an agreement through mediation even in high-conflict situations. While litigation is an adversarial process, the focus in mediation is on reaching a resolution that is acceptable to both parties.