It has been the experience of New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. that in many divorces, one party will try to manipulate the other by refusing to play fair under the court rules and requirements. This is often the case where one spouse is much wealthier than the other and/or earns a significantly higher income than his or her spouse.
Florida Family Court Rules of Procedure 12.285 is titled Mandatory Disclosure and it requires each party in a divorce case to provide a laundry list of documents to the other party in order that each party will be fully informed about the financial circumstances of the other party. In addition, a spouse who earns more than $50,000 must prepare Florida Family Law Affidavit Form 12.901(e).
New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. has experienced a lot of different tricks that wealthy spouses will play when it comes to disclosing income and documents. One of the most common tricks is a stall tactic in providing the documents required under the mandatory disclosure rules even though the Rule 12.285 requires that the documents have to be produced within 45 days of the date that the party either filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or was served with the divorce petition. This stall tactic will typically drive up a spouses attorney fees before his or her attorney is able to even see the first document.
The next trick is that when the stalling spouse provides the required paperwork, there are documents missing, out of order, and even irrelevant papers – all of which makes the situation very time-consuming and confusing. It can also be quite costly to sort through these documents to find out what is missing. Once you examine your spouse’s financial disclosures, it is common to have a feeling that the disclosure was manipulated in order to hide income and assets.
That is why New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. will normally advise a client of the need to retain a Forensic Accountant to assist in the divorce proceedings. A Forensic Accountant is especially necessary if your spouse owns a business which obtains a significant portion of income as cash or where you suspect that your spouse has been hiding assets for a long time in anticipation of possibly getting divorced.
Determining income and locating assets require the expertise of a Forensic Accountant. It is also important to understand that it is much less expensive and quicker (and not to mention more efficient) to have a Forensic Accountant perform a financial analysis of your spouse than it would be for New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. to complete the same task. Then if your case divorce requires a trial, you already have an expert witness on your side who can testify on your behalf.
At a trial, the Forensic Accountant that you retained is capable of providing compelling testimony that imputes income to your spouse, providing a valuation of your spouse’s business, as well as value any other assets that may be necessary.
Although you may believe hiring a Forensic Accountant may appear to be excessive, New Horizons Law, P.A., Michael J. Costantino, Esq. has found that using a Forensic Accountant can have a considerable impact on the outcome of your divorce.