A Forensic Accountant’s Role In High Net Worth Divorces
A forensic accountant can help determine whether a spouse tried to hide assets. You can take steps to protect yourself in case of a divorce, including having access to personal funds and important documents.
What does your family balance sheet look like? If you are not in charge of the family finances, you may not have a good idea of your exact assets and debts. When a spouse has a controlling share in a business, it can be even more difficult to itemize all assets.
Couples with substantial income may often have assets spread across various investments. Rental or investment properties, substantial holdings in businesses, investment accounts containing mixtures of stocks, bonds and liquid assets are just the start.
If a relationship starts to break down, there may be notice that a divorce is coming, but often it is a complete surprise. No one wants to consider that a marriage will end, which can leave a spouse in a difficult situation. If a spouse planned to end the marriage, he or she may have hidden certain funds or investments. This is where a forensic accountant comes into play and is especially important when one of the spouses owns a business.
One of the priorities in any divorce is to untangle finances. But be cautious, because decisions made during negotiations can affect you all the way to retirement. Consulting a high net worth divorce attorney, who may bring in a forensic accountant depending on the complexity of the case, is one way to protect your future finances.
There are some tips that you can follow to make sure that you are prepared in the worst-case scenario of a divorce.
Have Access To Your Own Funds
Because divorce often comes as a surprise, an individual may not have ready access to adequate funds to hire a divorce attorney. Maintaining a credit card in your own name or a separate account with available funds prevents this dilemma.
Make Copies Of Important Documents
In many cases, one of the former spouses may bar the other from the marital home. This means that access to tax returns, bank account statements, titles to vehicle, insurance documents and property deeds may be inaccessible. This makes it more difficult to build an accurate picture of all the assets.
Scanning relevant documents related to your finances and keeping them on a flash drive or stored in a secure file is one way to avoid this situation.
Understand The Basics Of Property Division
California is a community law state, which means that property is divided 50/50. However, there is some property that may not necessarily need to be split. An inheritance, for example, is generally not included in the marital estate. Yet as is often the case in the law, there are certain exceptions to the inheritance rule that an attorney can discuss.
Property division is complex and may require a team of experts. A consultation with an experienced family law attorney ensures your rights are protected and that you know what to expect through the divorce process.
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