Ever since you got married two decades ago, your husband has always managed the finances. He has an aptitude for numbers, so it seemed only natural that he keep track of the bills, taxes and your shared financial portfolio.
But when your marriage came crashing to the ground, you were suddenly faced with questions you realized you didn’t have the answers to. You have no idea how much your husband’s private practice is worth. You know he bought some stocks and made some real estate investments, but you haven’t kept track of the details.
This lack of information puts you in a vulnerable position, because you’re now relying on your ex to truthfully disclose all of the assets that could be considered marital property. That’s not very likely-especially if your marriage didn’t end on good terms.
In high-asset divorce scenarios such as these, it can be worthwhile to add another key member to your divorce team. In addition to your divorce lawyer, you may want to hire a forensic accountant.
What is a forensic accountant?
Forensic accountants are financial professionals who are trained to scrutinize financial records. They know how to examine records and identify not just what’s there, but what’s suspiciously absent-and investigate further, if necessary.
What are the benefits?
A forensic accountant can help uncover assets such as:
· Restricted stocks,
· Bank accounts in other states or countries or
· Properties owned in other states or countries.
In addition, a forensic accountant can also uncover duplicitous behavior, such as:
· Fraudulent activity,
· Hidden assets or
· Understated income.
Even if there is no foul play, a forensic accountant can still be a useful asset to your divorce team, because most forensic accountants are also valuation experts. They can help you accurately assess the value of your husband’s professional practice or valuable collectibles.
In addition, a forensic accountant can provide valuable support to you during the court proceedings. If you are called to testify regarding your case’s complex financial issues, your forensic accountant can actually testify on your behalf-and you can avoid interrogation by your ex’s attorney on a subject you don’t entirely understand.
In high-asset divorce cases with complex financial portfolios, adding a forensic accountant to your divorce team can be extremely valuable. It can put you in a stronger position legally and save you a lot of stress. It can also help ensure you get a fair and complete appraisal of assets to be divided in your divorce.