Finances play a major role in both the beginning and, if applicable, the end of a marriage. When a couple makes the decision to split up, determining how to divide the marital property is by and far the most complicated, critical aspect. The accumulation of assets and debts throughout the duration of a marriage lays the foundation for how these things will be distributed between both parties. When preparing for a divorce, many wonder whether or not a forensic accountant is necessary for their particular needs. Today, we will highlight the details behind a forensic accountant’s role in the divorce process.
Most people are under the impression that a divorce attorney is solely capable of handling their divorce case and in many cases that may be true. However, when a divorce involves a particularly complex or even problematic financial situation, a forensic accountant will play a vital role in both the preparation and the impending proceedings.
The litigation support provided by a forensic accountant in a divorce serves to unearth documentation of both personal and financial matters to determine the most reasonable, fair way to divide assets and debts.
Forensic Accounting and Your Divorce
High-asset divorce cases are most commonly associated with forensic accounting. However, any financially complex situation can benefit from the expertise and experience of a forensic accountant. From analyzing tax returns and credit card statements to combing through property deeds and investments, the role of the forensic accountant in a divorce case in invaluable.
Forensic accountants are typically called upon in the following scenarios:
- To help search for hidden assets
- To identify the couple’s liabilities and assets
- To assign a value to the couple’s liabilities and assets
- To go over any pre-marital agreements
- To conduct an evaluation of any inconsistencies
- To appraise properties
- To appraise assets
- To determine each party’s available income
- To locate any pre-marital property
- To assess the value of one or both of the spouse’s businesses
- To evaluate the value of vested and unvested pieces of stock options
While the above list is certainly not exhaustive, it does paint a picture into the many different scenarios in which forensic accounting is instrumental in the outcome of divorce proceedings. Let’s face it, a lot of divorce cases are contentious. The two parties may not see eye to eye on what the financial situation is and some parties may fear that their spouse has been hiding things from them during the marriage. In those cases, it is ideal to have a forensic accountant involved to ensure that no stone goes unturned.
At Ellrich, Neal, Smith & Stohlman, P.A., we are committed to providing high-quality forensic accounting services throughout the state of Florida. Our firm’s litigation services department provides professional services to participants in the legal process. These services include forensic accounting, fraud detection and prevention, assistance with discovery matters, consultation, and expert witness testimony. 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. We are regularly retained in civil, criminal, and family law (divorce) matters, and often participate in the development of pleadings and in the discovery process. To learn more about our expert forensic accounting offerings, contact our Miami or Palm Beach Gardens offices today!