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Does a forensic accountant make sense for your divorce?

A divorce can bring many changes. If you remain careful, you can limit the amount of surprises and negative fallout during a divorce, especially regarding your finances.

Sometimes, especially with individuals who have accumulated significant funds, one or both partners may have financial concerns. Unfortunately, some high-asset divorces have involved one partner seeking to hide assets from the other. An individual involved in this type of divorce could also have a difficult time determining exactly how much is at stake financially, needing to gain an understanding of complicated pay structures, pensions or investments. This is where forensic accounting comes into play.

What is forensic accounting?

Forensic accounting is a method of investigating financial records for accuracy. During a high-asset divorce, you and your partner will make financial disclosures, including reports about expenses, assets, debts and more. Expenses are broken down into detailed categories like housing, transportation, education, recreation, utilities, medical needs, insurance, etc.

The forensic accountant has the expertise to help you review bank statements, titles, and can research any recent write-offs. The accountant can also research public records for evidence that your partner has recently transferred any assets or property.

What circumstances call for forensic accounting?

If you suspect that your soon-to-be ex-spouse has a reason to hide assets or that he or she may be doing so, a forensic accountant could be invaluable to your cause. Hiding assets can give your partner an unfair advantage during the division of the marital property, so catching these things before your dissolution of marriage is finalized could prove imperative to your financial future.

Some couples tend to divide roles, resulting in one partner handling the majority of the financial responsibilities. So if you're the one in your relationship who is out of touch with the family finances, forensics could help you gain much-needed insight.

Finding the help you need

You obviously have the ability and the right to hire your own forensic accountant. However, many experienced family law attorneys, especially those who handle high-asset divorce cases, will have access to their own resources, including accountants, financial analysts and other professionals. Acquiring appropriate legal counsel can ensure a smoother transition through all aspects of the divorce process and substantially increase your odds of receiving the full amount of marital property to which you are rightfully entitled.

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