Why Do I Need A Forensic Accounting Of My Finances During Divorce?
Grappling with the financial aspects of divorce often proves to be one of the most difficult parts of legally ending a marriage. Negotiations can become particularly tense or unproductive if one spouse is less than fully transparent about the family’s finances. In these cases, it may be necessary to conduct a forensic accounting of the parties’ financial situation. For help determining whether you could benefit from a forensic accounting of your own finances, reach out to a dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer today.
What is Forensic Accounting?
During divorce, couples are required to make a full and honest disclosure of their financial situation to each other. Unfortunately, many spouses fail to do so, whether due to a desire to hide assets, or because their own records are unorganized or scattered. A forensic accountant is a financial specialist who can locate, identify, categorize, and value assets by:
- Reviewing income tax returns, receipts, and invoices;
- Reviewing financial statements;
- Analyzing business transactions; and
- Conducting public record searches for property deeds.
An experienced and qualified forensic accountant will be able to trace any hidden transfers, identify certain spending habits, track down hidden assets, and place values on complex or rare assets, all of which ensures that a divorcing couple’s assets will be divided fairly.
Uphold Financial Integrity
Obtaining a forensic accounting of your finances during your divorce can achieve a number of different goals, including upholding financial integrity. This is particularly important in situations where one spouse was tasked with managing marital assets and finances during the marriage. This can leave the other spouse at a disadvantage during divorce negotiations, making it nearly impossible to divide assets and debts equally.
Uncover Hidden Assets
Assets that aren’t included in a divorce settlement agreement cannot be divided, which is why it’s so important to use in-depth forensic accounting to uncover hidden assets before a divorce is finalized. Certain kinds of assets are more likely to be hidden than others, including:
- Stocks and bonds;
- Insurance policies;
- Mutual funds;
- Jewelry or collectibles; and
How these assets are hidden will vary depending on the value of the asset and the dishonest spouse’s sophistication. One common way, however, is to give the assets to close friends or relatives while the divorce is pending and then ask for them back once the divorce is finalized. Alternatively, an unscrupulous spouse could create new accounts or even use a secret safe deposit box to store valuable items. Even asking an employer to hold off on giving a bonus or raise until after divorce qualifies as hiding assets.
Here to Answer Your Divorce-Related Questions and Concerns
If you feel unsure of how to handle the financial aspects of your divorce, we are here to help. Dedicated Florida divorce lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. can guide you through each step of your case, which may require an in-depth forensic accounting of your finances. Call us today at 954-945-7591 to schedule a free consultation with our team. You can also reach us by completing one of our online contact forms.