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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Including a Forensic Accountant on Your Divorce Team

How could a forensic accountant benefit my divorce case?

Finances are often the most contested issue in a divorce. During your divorce in Texas, all marital assets and debts must be separated between the spouses. A fair divorce requires financial transparency, but at times a spouse will attempt to conceal assets. A forensic accountant can prove invaluable in uncovering hidden assets or dividing complicated assets. For high earners or divorces potentially involving hidden funds, a forensic accountant could be a vital member of your divorce team.

Uncovering Hidden Assets

One of the most important roles of a forensic accountant is to find hidden assets. Assets that are not declared cannot be divided in settlement talks or by the court. Hiding assets during a divorce can result in civil and potentially even criminal penalties in court, but nonetheless some spouses will attempt to conceal their assets.

Several types of assets are commonly hidden prior to or during a divorce. Assets that may be hidden include cash, mutual funds, stocks, cryptocurrencies, insurance policies, and more. These assets could be moved offshore, sold to purchase large ticket items, or retitled into the name of a friend or family member, among other methods.

A forensic accountant will use a number of different methods to locate hidden assets. Your forensic accountant will attempt to gather more information about where the spouse may have concealed his or her assets. He or she may request income tax returns, review public records, look into checking and savings account history, and much more. Thorough investigative measures will often lead the forensic accountant to positively identify and locate hidden funds so that the court can properly divide these assets.

Identifying False Accountings

A related role of a forensic accountant is to invalidate false accountings provided by the spouse in question. Often, a high earning spouse will attempt to deflate his or her income in order to reduce child support or spousal support obligations. A forensic accountant will compare tax returns and bank statements to a spouse’s declared income to discover whether he or she is underestimating income. This is especially helpful where the potentially deceitful spouse is self-employed or the owner of multiple corporate entities and thus has more ability to conceal assets.

If you are worried that your soon to be ex-spouse is hiding assets from you, you are going to need an experienced divorce attorney.


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