The Role of Forensic Accountants in Divorce

divorcing couple

One of the central components of every divorce is the financial element. While many divorces are fairly straightforward when it comes to the couple’s financials, others are far more complicated. If your financial situation is complex and the matter is less than transparent, working closely with a forensic accountant in addition to an experienced divorce attorney may be in order.

Financial Complications

Typically, the financial component of a divorce involves the family home, both spouses’ earnings, retirement accounts, and the couple’s financial portfolio. While determining an equitable division of these assets can be complicated, the financials themselves generally are not. There are factors, however, that tend to make a couple’s finances more difficult to fully comprehend – and, therefore, far more difficult to divide equitably, including:

  • High assets

  • Business ownership

  • Complicated financials, such as separate properties that are entangled with marital properties

  • One-sided financials (one spouse has complete control over the couple’s financials)

In order to obtain a fair division of marital property, it is sometimes necessary to work with a forensic accountant who has the ability to dive more deeply into your complicated finances.

Nefarious Practices

While you may think that fudging the numbers when it comes to the division of your marital property is not something your divorcing spouse would ever succumb to, it is important to keep in mind that divorce is a major stressor that can push people to act in unexpected ways. If your spouse believes – for whatever reason – that he or she is more entitled to certain assets, there are a variety of less-than-honest practices he or she may engage in that can help keep you from what is rightfully yours, including:

  • Hiding assets outright

  • Funneling funds through a business

  • Devaluing properties and/or other assets

  • Giving assets away

  • Spending down funds

If your spouse begins such practices quietly and systematically, they can be very difficult to spot without a forensic accountant in your corner.

The Forensic Accountant’s Role

It is your forensic accountant’s job to sift through all your financial information in an effort to put together an accurate picture of your complete assets and liabilities. This typically involves sorting through all of the following:

  • Tax returns that go back several years

  • Bank accounts and other financial statements

  • Stock certificates and other investment account statements

  • Retirement accounts

  • Employee benefits

  • Property deeds

  • Business holdings

In essence, your forensic accountant will run an audit of your family’s financials to help ensure that everything is accounted for and that there are no financial inconsistencies to investigate. If you have questions or concerns about how financially forthright your divorcing spouse is being, hiring a forensic accountant may be necessary.

An Experienced Killeen Divorce Attorney Is on Your Side

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is an accomplished divorce attorney who is committed to skillfully advocating for divorce terms that uphold your financial rights. Your case is important, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information about how we can help you today.

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