Many Florida spouses going through a divorce get anxious when they hear that a forensic accountant, or forensic CPA, is getting involved. Some people hear the word “forensic” and think of investigators and lab technicians who work on criminal cases.
While it is true that forensic accountants are often called on to aid in investigations for alleged financial crimes, divorce is a civil matter. The fact that you or your spouse hired a forensic accountant is not an indication that someone committed a crime. Attorneys often hire forensic accountants in high-net-worth divorce cases for the following reasons.
1. Forensic accountants can help reveal the true extent of the marital estate (property and assets of the marriage).
Spouses cannot receive a fair divorce settlement or judgment without a full picture of the other spouse’s earnings, assets, and other property. Florida law requires a number of financial disclosures in divorce cases. However, just because your spouse claimed a certain number of assets, a specific value to those assets, and a specific income does not mean he or she is being truthful.
It is not uncommon for spouses to conceal assets or income during a divorce. Spouses conceal assets during a divorce in order to get a more favorable alimony or property division arrangement. The methods people use to conceal assets and/or income during a divorce can be quite complex and sophisticated. An effective forensic accountant, however, can determine whether your spouse is lying about his or her assets, their value, and/or his or her income.
2. Forensic accountants can help come up with an accurate valuation of certain assets.
Another important component of a reasonable divorce settlement is a “fair and equitable” division of marital property. In addition to making an inventory of marital property, spouses must have a good idea of each asset’s monetary value (valuation). Determining the proper valuation of some assets can be quite difficult for someone without financial knowledge.
Furthermore, some assets, like a family business, can be a combination of separate and marital property. A forensic accountant who specializes in business valuation can wade through these uncertainties and produce a valuation that’s correct and fair.
3. Forensic accountants are usually comfortable testifying in court.
Contested divorces often involve one or multiple court hearings. During these hearings, each side may call witnesses and/or cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. If your forensic accountant is called to testify, don’t worry. These individuals are skilled professionals, and yours has probably testified many times. You can expect your forensic accountant to answer all questions truthfully and in a professional manner.
Not Sure Where to Start?
A high-net-worth divorce presents many unique challenges. These divorces often involve complex, intangible assets that are easy to conceal but difficult to value. A forensic accountant is your best resource in this situation. Our team has worked with exceptional forensic accountants in the past, and we would be happy to connect you with one.
Schedule your confidential consultation with our caring team today by calling (954)-447-2580.