What Does a Forensic Accountant Do in Divorce?
In a divorce situation, one of the main things a forensic accountant will do is review both business and personal documentation that can reveal financial information regarding a spouse. Following are some additional ways to use a forensic accountant for divorce.
- Search for hidden assets and income, including probing for hidden bank accounts and/or property.
- Look for inconsistencies between financial information listed on any documentation.
- Validate financial reporting with non-financial evidence.
- Determine and calculate personal expenses designated as business expenses by the other party and which may have an impact on the value of a business.
- Perform a business assessment.
- Evaluate the cash flow that may be used in determining support payments.
- Perform a trace to determine the separate or community status of the property.
- Assist your divorce attorney in preparing document requests of the other party.
- Assist your divorce attorney in gathering the information that will be used when preparing subpoenas.
- Assist your attorney in preparing deposition/trial questions for the other spouse’s forensic accounting specialist.
- Review work being done by the other party’s forensic accountant.
- Testify in court or at depositions.
- Interact with computer specialists, private detectives, and other professionals, if needed.
- Offer input regarding any tax consequences of suggested actions during the settlement process.
How Clients Can Help Their Forensic Accountant in a Divorce
Although most clients are not financial experts, they may be able to assist their forensic accountant with the following.
- The source and use of the other spouse’s funds;
- An understanding of what documents and records are maintained in any business owned by the other spouse;
- The habits of the other party;
- Their close relationships;
- Their travel habits;
- Their attitude towards taking risks (which may help reveal possible schemes used to deceptively hide assets).
The attorneys at Griffith Young & Lass want to take this opportunity to remind parties involved in a divorce that materials that may seem unimportant to the client may, in fact, be very useful for forensic accounting in divorce cases. If they are unsure of whether or not a particular piece of information has value, it is probably wise to forward it to their forensic accountant and divorce attorney.
Many times in divorce proceedings, the parties involved are emotionally exhausted and eager to hand over control to the professionals hired to help them through the process. It is important for them to stay involved, however, as forensic accountants may be able to use information that they have to offer. By doing so, clients will hopefully be able to reduce the amount of money and time involved in the overall divorce process.
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