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How forensic accountants aid divorcing spouses

Spouses preparing for divorce in New York might benefit from getting third-party help, but one person some may not consider is a forensic accountant. A divorce may feel like an emotional issue, but at its core, at least legally speaking, divorce is about dividing assets and liabilities. Each spouse may have assets in a marriage which could be considered separate property during a divorce. Dividing jointly owned property is where a forensic accountant can be helpful.

People with complex financial portfolios might particularly benefit from hiring a forensic accountant to appraise value, find hidden assets and determine the long-term value of assets after taking into account taxes and other financial matters. A forensic accountant might assess different settlement options and offer advice as to which benefits the client in the short-term and in the future. If a divorce goes to trial, a forensic accountant may testify to matters of income, asset value and other issues sparing a divorcing spouse from having to answer such questions from an attorney.

A forensic accountant could also counter dishonest maneuvers made by spouses who are hoping to confuse their husband or wife with disorderly paperwork and misleading or irrelevant information. For example, people might falsify records in hopes of undervaluing a business or assets. An accountant might reveal inappropriate financial behavior and perform important services such as identifying fake debt or dummy corporations.

Some people may not be honest and open about their finances when it comes to negotiating a divorce agreement or going through litigation. A forensic accountant is just one member of a divorce team who can provide helpful services. A family law attorney could develop customized strategies to use when representing a client in court or during negotiations with the aim of obtaining a fair and desirable settlement.

Source: Forbes, "Why A Forensic Accountant Belongs On Your Divorce Team", Jeff Landers, September 04, 2014

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