Why Forensic Accountants are Important in a Divorce
Divorces are already a difficult and emotional process, without the added challenge of trying to agree on asset division and ensuring your soon-to-be ex-spouse is not misrepresenting their income or hiding other marital assets. It may seem like it should be a fairly straightforward process; however, some unscrupulous spouses may start hiding assets when they are preparing to file for divorce. This is why you need the best Florida divorce lawyer on your side, and you may want to consider the use of a forensic accountant.
What is a Forensic Accountant?
The area of forensic accounting is a specialty practice that describes investigating financial situations that result from anticipated litigation or disputes. The term “forensic” means that their work is applicable in court, so forensic accountants work under that premise at all times. Forensic accountants typically testify in court as experts.
Forensic accountants are not only accountants and auditors, they are also typically skilled investigators. Outside the realm of family law, a lot of their work in civil matters often centers around calculating losses and damages in breach of contract cases, testifying in matters related to disagreements on company acquisitions, and weighing in on business valuations.
In addition, they may help in professional negligence cases by discussing the work or credentials of other professionals, or by assessing accounting and financial activities related to criminal fraud cases that are handled by fraud auditors. The main difference between forensic accountants and fraud auditors is fraud auditors try to stop the fraud from happening in the first place, while forensic accountants come in after the fraud occurs.
Use of Forensic Accountants in Divorce Matters
Even if there is no question of hiding money or assets, forensic accountants can be beneficial for couples with a complex asset portfolio or high net worth. On their face, some assets can be difficult to distribute. Consider various stock options, insurance plans, retirement accounts, deferred compensation, complex business arrangements and practices, and various types of trusts. Other assets that can require an appraisal include rare collectibles, antiquities, and original works of art. Properties located in other states, or even other countries, could benefit from asset valuation from a forensic accountant too.
When it comes to hiding income and/or assets, some possible scenarios involve:
- Underreporting income and overpaying creditors
- Padding the payroll
- Using a private stash of cash to buy things
- Putting assets in a fake dummy company name
- Creating phony debts
These situations are where forensic accountants are key, because they utilize their specialized training and experience to uncover what a spouse is attempting to withhold from the divorce proceedings. These experts are suspicious by nature, and are helpful in writing reports and testifying in a deposition or as an expert witness in court.
Retaining a Boca Raton Divorce Attorney
Dividing marital assets is a complicated process in any divorce, especially when there is a lot of tension, a complex asset portfolio, and concerns with your ex attempting to withhold assets. This is why you need a savvy Boca Raton divorce lawyer on your side. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today for a consultation, and let us ensure you get what you legally deserve in your pending divorce.