Why You May Need a Forensic Accountant for Your Long Island Divorce
Finances are one of the most common issues in a Long Island divorce, and even more so in a high net worth divorce. You and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse must fully disclose your assets, and if one of you is found hiding assets, you could face serious penalties. Often, one spouse will hire a forensic accountant if they believe their spouse may hide assets to avoid paying as much in the divorce settlement and later in spousal support (alimony) or child support.
However, whether you believe your spouse has the propensity for dishonesty or not, if there’s a lot of money at stake, a forensic accountant can prove helpful. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Forensic Accountant?
A forensic accountant is an accountant that practices within the specialty of forensic accounting or accounting that can produce evidence that is usable in litigation, disputes, and other types of court cases. In a divorce case, a forensic accountant will focus specifically on financial transactions that affect or have the potential to affect the divorce.
What Does a Forensic Accountant Do?
When you work with a forensic accountant, you’ll provide as much information about your financial history as you can. The accountant will request bank statements, property deeds, access to valuable assets for appraisal, and more. A forensic accountant can:
- Identify hidden assets
- Identify inconsistencies in financial records
- Accurately assess personal expenses
- Appraise valuable assets such as art, collectibles and antiques
- Appraise the value of properties
- Estimate the financial impact that the divorce will have on the lesser earning spouse to illustrate a need for spousal support or alimony
- Assess tax returns
- Assess credit card and debit card statements
- Review investment portfolios
Before hiring a forensic accountant, ask several questions about their experience and the processes they use to do their job. Make sure you are comfortable with this person because you’ll be providing them with a high level of access to your financial records. Your divorce lawyer can help you connect with a forensic accountant you can trust and who your attorney has experience working with in other divorce cases.
What are the Benefits of Having a Forensic Accountant?
There are a number of different benefits of working with a forensic accountant in a high net worth divorce or in a divorce where you suspect that your ex may be hiding assets. After the accountant reviews your financial records in detail, they will record any transactions or financial behaviors that cannot be attributed to normal activity. Any questionable behavior will be investigated and analyzed to determine where money or assets are going and if the transactions are, in fact, legitimate.
A forensic accountant can be particularly beneficial in contentious contested divorce cases, whether they are high net worth or not. Before dividing assets and property in a divorce, it’s important to make sure that all assets have been disclosed. If your soon-to-be-ex accidentally or purposefully does not disclose their assets and property, it could shortchange you in the final divorce settlement.
Your assets and property can only be divided and a settlement reached with the information that is available, so if there’s less there than should be, that’s all that will be considered during the division process. It’s in your best interest to ensure that full financial disclosure is made before assets and property are divided.
Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Law Firm Today to Learn if You Need a Forensic Accountant
If you’re considering divorce as an option or are already involved in dissolving your marriage, it’s important to have a strong legal advocate on your side. It’s easy to let details slip by when you’re stressed and emotionally drained from the divorce itself, and your lawyer can help you focus on what is important at each stage of your divorce. Your attorney will fiercely campaign for your legal rights and best interests, so you can be confident that you’re as protected as possible at every turn.
Contact our Long Island divorce law firm today for more information about working with a forensic accountant in your divorce or to simply connect with an experienced divorce lawyer who is ready to help you. Call now at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation and case evaluation.
For more information about Property Division in your divorce, visit our Complete Guide to Dividing Property in Divorce.
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