The Role of a Forensic Accountant in a Divorce
A huge part of any divorce is dividing up the debts and assets. This aspect of divorce is so important that it’s often the most time-consuming part of the entire process. As couples divvy up their real estate, retirement accounts, business shares, and savings, questions often arise—how do you know if both parties are being honest in their disclosures? What happens if one party is hiding their finances? How can you protect yourself in these negotiations?
You may need a forensic accountant if you suspect that something isn’t quite right with your spouse’s financial disclosures. Your family law attorney can help you explore this option. Call Coumanis & York at 251-336-3121 to set up a consultation now.
How Complicated is Your Divorce?
When deciding whether or not a forensic accountant is necessary for you, the main thing you have to look at is how complicated your divorce is. For many couples, the divorce process is fairly straightforward.
They have a little bit in terms of assets and income, but mainly want to figure out how to split parenting time and financial responsibility of the children. If you both entered the marriage with minimal assets and haven’t secured significant assets during your marriage, a forensic accountant may not do much for you.
However, in a more complicated split, a forensic accountant can be a huge help. The more assets you have and the more diverse they are, the more likely it is that you will need a forensic accountant to discover all of them and ensure that they are all accounted for in the division of debts and assets.
Consider that a couple could have businesses, business shares, cryptocurrency, retirement accounts, offshore bank accounts, real estate, and investment accounts. If one party is concerned about not getting their fair share in the divorce, they could easily try to hide some of these assets by funneling money through other accounts, “giving” assets or money to loved ones (and then getting them back after the divorce is finalized), or simply not disclosing them during the divorce process.
How a Forensic Accountant Can Help Stay-at-Home Parents
In many situations, the work of a forensic accountant benefits the stay-at-home partner or the one who does not handle the family finances. Consider this scenario, which is actually quite common. One partner works outside the home to support the family while their spouse stays at home to take care of the children.
The working spouse gives the non-working spouse a little bit of spending money, but other than that, the stay-at-home parent is entirely in the dark regarding their financial situation. The working spouse secures large bonuses and raises over time but never discloses them to their partner, instead depositing the money into a secret account that only has their name on it.
When they strike and file for divorce first, the other spouse has no idea that other money even exists. A forensic accountant can help low-earning or non-working spouses in this and similar situations by uncovering hidden accounts and solving discrepancies in the other party’s financial disclosures.
What a Forensic Accountant Uncovers
A forensic accountant puts a substantial amount of work into each case they take on. They collect both spouses’ financial disclosures, evaluate joint and marital assets, and audit both parties’ records. Their training allows them to find different ways that parties may hide assets or try to funnel them through different avenues.
A forensic accountant can also use financial records to determine each party’s ability to pay support, figure out how funds were used during the divorce, and assist in a fair division of debts and assets. For example, imagine a marriage ending due to infidelity.
During the divorce process, while the couple is still technically married, the unfaithful spouse uses marital funds to buy their affair partner a new vehicle or put a down payment on a condo for them. A forensic accountant could trace these purchases and show that the other spouse should be reimbursed for the money that was taken from the marital estate.
Choose Coumanis & York for Your Family Law Case
We’re here for you if you’re facing divorce and unsure of what to do next. Let’s sit down and come up with a plan. Call our team at 251-336-3121 or send us a message online to set up a consultation.
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