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What Does A Forensic Accountant Do In Divorce?

Divorce for some people is easy. However, that’s not the case with most. Divorce is often bitter and depressing, but it can be even more of a problem when you and your spouse have a lot of high-value assets that need to be split. Whether it is a business, property, or other types of assets, you need to be thinking about your financial interests. A forensic accountant can help you get everything together before, during and after the divorce.

Even though you might just want the divorce to be over, you still need to be sure things are done correctly. You need to know that all of the finances and assets in the divorce have been found and accounted for, so they can be split fairly between you and your spouse. It might surprise you, but many spouses keep certain financial secrets from one another. Hidden accounts, secret investments, etc. are more common than you realize.

To help make things easier on you, it’s a good idea to at least consider hiring a forensic accountant. They can provide a range of benefits that could affect how the assets are divided in your divorce. Let’s look at some of the top reasons to consider working with a forensic accountant.

The Discovery Process

The discovery process can be time-consuming, and you’ll want to work with your attorney to ensure that you have all of the information and evidence that’s needed. It’s also a good idea to work with a forensic accountant in these cases, as they know how and where to find all of the financial information. They will work with the attorneys to ensure that everything is collected properly and that all of the motions and subpoenas are filed.

Ensures Financial Transparency

How much do you really know about your marital finances? In most marriages, one of the spouses is the one who takes care of all or most of the financial issues. They handle things like taxes, investments, savings accounts, etc. The other spouse might take care of the basic monthly budget, but they do not have a full overview of the financial picture.

When the couple gets divorced, who do you think has the advantage? The spouse who knows more about the intricate financial details that are happening behind the scenes, naturally. However, a forensic accountant can help to put the spouses on equal footing by providing transparency.

The forensic accountant can find and report liabilities and joint assets so that the property can be divided fairly.

Provide Value to Assets

Do you know the value of each of your assets? What about items that were bought with community funds by your spouse, such as their collection of stamps or coins? What about the value of jewelry that was bought with community funds? Chances are good that you don’t truly know how much they are worth. If things are being split up in a divorce, it means that you could end up with less than you should.

The forensic accountant can help to provide an estimated value. If you feel that some of the items may be of higher value than you think, it is possible to have an independent valuation of those particular items done by a specialist. When you know the value of the assets, it ensures that everything will be fairly divided between the spouses.

Find Hidden Assets

As mentioned, sometimes, one spouse has little to no idea about what’s happening with all of the finances. There could be hidden assets that you have never heard about from your spouse. It’s not legal to hide assets in a divorce, but this doesn’t mean that your spouse won’t try to hide things that they want to keep. It happens more than you realize, and you need to make sure that nothing remains hidden. The best way to do this, of course, is with the help of a forensic accountant.

Forensic accountants specialize in this. They can look through tax returns, financial records, look at spending habits, etc. They look for any discrepancies and oddities that stick out and then follow that thread to see whether there are any hidden marital assets.

Testify in Court

Forensic accountants can help with more than just the investigation. They can also help with litigation, and their presence can be instrumental in your case, particularly if your ex tried to hide assets.

Although it’s always nice to be able to settle a divorce before you have to go to trial, the fact of the matter is that some cases will end up heading into litigation. As part of that process, you will often need to have expert witnesses that can testify about what they found in court or in a deposition.

Forensic accountants qualify as experts and can act as such in your case. Of course, it’s a good idea to work with an accountant who has experience testifying, if possible, just in case you do have to go to court for your divorce.

Dangers of Not Working with a Forensic Accountant

What if you feel that you don’t need to have a specialist? Perhaps you are worried about the added cost, or you feel that you can handle it all on your own. It’s important to keep in mind that even though you will have to hire a specialist, the amount of money they can end up saving for you in your divorce will often be well worth that cost. If they discover assets that you had no idea about, for example, it could increase the amount that you receive.

Find a Qualified Forensic Accountant

As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that can come from working with a forensic accountant when you are getting a divorce. When you are choosing a specialist, you will want to be sure they have experience handling divorce cases and have worked on divorces like yours in the past. If you have a high-value divorce, for example, it’s a good idea for you to work with someone who has experience dealing with high-asset cases.

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