Every divorce is a series of questions and answers – what does the couple share and how will it be divided between them? Fundamentally, this applies everything from child custody to assets and debts. For couples with a high net worth, answering these questions can be more difficult. Forensic accounting can make it easier.
What is forensic accounting?
When forensic accounting is used in a divorce, outside financial experts are brought into the process. Their job is to investigate the history of a couple’s entire financial portfolio and provide clarity. What assets do the couple have? What debts have they accumulated? Is there separate property or is everything considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution? Is there property which has been commingled?
When should forensic accounting be used?
High-asset couples tend to have more assets than other couples and a wider variety of them. The same tends to be true of their debts. There may be business interests, stocks, inheritances or a host of other assets which can muddy the waters of value and ownership. When property division becomes complex, that’s when forensic accounting becomes useful.
Its usefulness is apparent whether the divorce is amicable or contested. For couple’s seeking a mediated divorce, so that they can control how property is divided, the clarity brought by forensic accounting only deepens the couple’s comfort that their decisions are grounded in fact, rather than guesswork. And for contested divorces, forensic accounting can reveal hidden assets or debts so that the court can make similarly educated decisions.
If you have questions as to whether forensic accounting is appropriate for your divorce, speak to a professional who is well-versed in family law and high-asset divorce.