The division of martial assets is often far more complicated than either party in the divorce estimates it to be. As such, the attorneys involved in the case will typically advise that a valuation expert or forensic accountant get involved in the process. Forensic accounting serves to reveal any hidden income, hidden assets, or assist in discovering new revenues that a spouse may be delaying in bringing to light.
While the term “hidden assets” brings about a negative connotation, in many scenarios one spouse is simply in the dark because the other spouse was responsible for managing the investments and income in their marriage. Regardless of intentions, searching for hidden assets is a critical part of a divorce settlement. Uncovering assets is typically achieved in the following methods:
- Reviewing bank deposits, canceled checks, currency transactions, tax returns, brokerage records, and credit applications
- Comparing net worth at the beginning of a period and at the end of a period
- Investigation into accounts receivable, actual expenses, expected sales, and expected profitability
- Assessing sources and uses of cash
- Reviewing life insurance policies, property records, and lien records
- Identifying all accounts, including things like email addresses, web-based account information, and even social media accounts
- Analysis of credit card cash advances and ATM withdrawals
- Gather any additional financially-pertinent data and search for any and all anomalies
Forensic accountants may employ any of the above methods to determine accurate information and thus uncover any hidden assets. While methodology varies on a case to case basis, the overall goal is to combine forensic accounting and valuation techniques to paint a clear picture of a complex scenario.
At Ellrich, Neal, Smith & Stohlman, P.A., we provide litigation services in both federal and state courts in a wide variety of cases including brokerage fraud, shareholder disputes, class action litigation, personal injury, marital dissolution, contract claims, business damages, lost profits, business and contract disputes and criminal cases. Our clients include both litigants and attorneys, and our services are provided both before the inception of and throughout the course of litigation. Contact our Palm Beach Gardens or Miami offices today to learn more!