Do I need a Forensic Accountant?
By Michael J. Costantino, Esq.
Information on why you may need a Forensic Accountant when going through a divorce action!
During divorce proceedings, many professionals are usually invited to contribute their expertise to the case to have the desired results. Among these experts that are sometimes involved is a forensic accountant. But what does a forensic accountant do in a divorce case?
Sometimes, the most difficult aspects of a divorce case are the determination of a spouse’s true income and the classification of assets into marital property and separate property and their values. A forensic accountant can make a determination as to these various aspects.
It is the norm to invite a forensic accountant in complex divorce cases. What a forensic accountant does is critical to valuing and ensuring equitable distribution of property. The accountant will analyze the discovery, the documents that have been produce by the other party and third parties, and develop an equitable distribution plan and recommendation to the court for child support and alimony.
The forensic accountant will work with hand and hand with your attorney and apply accounting standards and practices in the divorce case. He assesses documents such as bank records, tax returns, contracts, and other financial documents to reveal the real financial information of the family to ensure fair distribution of property. Besides, he searches for hidden assets and uncovers discrepancies between claims and financial records. The accountant’s other tasks will be determined by the client and divorce attorney.
There are situations whereby a spouse may feign forgetfulness or deny the acquisition of certain property; it behooves the forensic accountant to check the accuracy of the declared property with the financial records. After all, the accountant has resources to search for off-shore accounts and other hidden property.
Among the inaccuracies that the forensic accountant can discover are payroll padding, income underreporting, overpaying creditors, creating fake debt, transfer of assets to fake corporations, buying expensive items with stashed cash, etc. When the forensic accountant discovers hidden assets and income, a greater value will be established for the case. Therefore, there is a larger amount for both of you to share.
It is advised that any divorcing spouse who suspects wrongdoing or has huge property should hire a forensic accountant than letting an unscrupulous spouse get away. Remember that your settlement determines your long-term well-being. The forensic accountant will work together with your attorney to ensure equitable distribution of property.
If you are looking for an experienced divorce attorney with knowledge in Florida equitable distribution law, contact us today and get the judgment that makes you smile always.