What Is Forensic Accounting?
Forensic accounting is a type of accounting that involves investigative methods and auditing to examine someone’s finances. Though it may sound like something from a crime thriller, forensic accounting can also be very helpful when going through a difficult divorce. Whether you and your former partner have a high net worth or you suspect your ex of hiding assets, forensic accounting can help you get the full picture of what is going on with your property and assets.
What Can a Forensic Accountant Do for Me?
If you are going through a complicated divorce, a forensic accountant can be an invaluable resource. While you and your former spouse must disclose all financial records during discovery, parsing this information can be incredibly difficult, and it is easy to miss things. The role of a forensic accountant is to analyze and audit all financial records associated with your divorce.
A forensic accountant can help with:
- Auditing financial records, including business financial records
- Uncovering hidden assets or reveal assets that one spouse may be unaware of
- Determining if your spouse has dissipated marital assets
- Providing witness testimony in court
- Valuing and appraising assets
- Determining both spouse’s ability to pay child or spousal support
- Separating community (marital) property from individual property
A forensic accountant can also help you understand your financial situation and how the divorce can impact it. Your forensic accountant will work directly with you and your lawyers throughout your case.
Do I Need a Forensic Accountant?
Because of the “forensic” designation, many people assume that they only need to hire a forensic accountant when they suspect some wrongdoing on the part of their former spouse, such as dissipation of assets or hiding assets. However, this is not the case. Because a forensic accountant’s skills and role are so diverse, they can help in many different situations.
It is worth considering working with a forensic accountant during your divorce if:
- You and/or your former partner have a high net worth
- You have a complicated financial situation
- You are going through a contentious divorce
- You or your spouse have business interests affected by the divorce
- You or your spouse are self-employed and need help analyzing income
While there are many benefits to working with a forensic accountant while going through a divorce, it is not necessary for everyone. In straightforward cases, their services might not be needed. Furthermore, working with a forensic account can increase the cost of your divorce by several thousand dollars, and it may not be worth the expense for you.
Can My Lawyer Help?
Before hiring a forensic accountant to help with your divorce, speak with your attorney. A skilled lawyer can examine your case and help you determine if working with a forensic accounting specialist would be beneficial to your case. Your attorney will also help you navigate the financial disclosure portion of your case and work to ensure that your former partner also provides full disclosure.
At Burch Shepard Family Law Group, we have worked on some of the most complicated divorce cases, including high net worth and high conflict cases. We have extensive experience working with forensic accountants. Reach out to our law firm to discuss your case today.