Going through a divorce can be a complicated process, especially if you and your spouse have significant assets. Even in amicable divorces, dividing marital property and debts can be complex. Sometimes, in high-asset divorces, hiring a forensic accountant can ensure each party receives a fair share of retirement accounts, stock options or trust fund money.
What is a forensic accountant?
A forensic accountant evaluates all kinds of financial documentation, both business and personal. This includes reviewing tax statements, bank account records, investment records, business contracts and even financial projections.
Forensic accountants can investigate financial information of business owners or high-tech executives who have lots of stock shares in their own companies or those who own multiple properties or have financial accounts in multiple states. They can help set values for a business, art or unique collectibles for asset division.
Investigating for hidden assets or inconsistencies
Forensic accountants can look for hidden assets, even in off-shore accounts or property bought without one spouse’s knowledge. Forensic accountants also will look for inconsistencies between financial information— for example, are there any large transactions that don’t add up?
Evaluating for child support costs or tax consequences
Forensic accountants also can help your divorce attorney calculate what level of child support your spouse can afford. They can inform you or your spouse of any tax implications from asset division.
They even can prepare settlement options for your former spouse’s attorney to review too.
In cases where two doctors might own their own practice or two entrepreneurs launched businesses of their own, each side may use a forensic accountant to determine what assets and debts are marital property and how to divide them.
An experienced divorce attorney can advise you if hiring a forensic accountant might help your divorce case. For those who may have sidetracked their career to spend more time raising children while your spouse built a business, a forensic accountant can help ensure you get a fair share of the assets earned during your marriage.