During a high net worth divorce, or when a couple has complex finances that need to be divided, a forensic accountant assesses the value of marital assets and debts to prepare to divide property. The accountant’s work and testimony can be used in court to ensure an equitable outcome.
Types of Assets Assessed
A forensic accountant can help divide the following kinds of assets:
• Unique antique or art collections
• Retirement funds
• Stock options
• Complicated partnerships
• Deferred compensation
• Property in other states or nations
• Closely held businesses
A forensic accountant can also dig into questionable financial matters to resolve ambiguities and prevent illegal or unethical practices. For example, he or she can locate hidden assets or sources of revenue, spot business fraud or lay the groundwork for establishing fairer terms for alimony and child support payments.
Benefits of Using a Forensic Accountant
1. Look for hidden monies. Your spouse might have money or property hidden off shore or might have gifted jewelry or cash to a friend with the understanding that the person will return those assets after the divorce finalizes. Alternatively, your spouse might be secretly supporting a lover or paying for another home. The accountant can examine records for anything that raises a red flag.
2. Review inconsistencies between various financial documents. For instance, a loan application that states a certain income should be consistent with tax returns.
3. Confirm that business expenses are accurate and are not actually personal expenses.
4. Assess the value of a family business.
5. Review cash flow to determine child support payments.
6. Discuss tracking separate and community property in order to divide assets properly.
7. Help your lawyer collect the correct documents to ensure that you have accurate information when preparing a subpoena.
8. Help your lawyer think of questions to ask your ex.
9. Testify as needed at depositions or in court.
10. Assist other experts, including private investigators.
11. Help you understand the tax consequences of suggested settlement options.