High asset divorces tend to be much more complicated than average divorces, especially regarding the identification and division of assets. While an experienced divorce attorney can provide clients with a wealth of knowledge, having your divorce attorney retain and use a forensic accountant is critical when navigating complex financial situations.
How Is A High Net Worth Divorce Defined?
High net worth divorces generally refer to divorces that involve more than $1 million in liquid assets. A high net worth divorce can impact many types of assets, such as 401(k)s, retirement accounts, pensions and benefits, as these are often considered shared assets during a marriage.
Shared businesses, business investments and partnerships may also be subject to equitable distribution during a divorce. Real estate purchased or owned during the marriage will often be involved in high net worth divorce proceedings, including primary residences, vacation homes, timeshares and other property owned by one or both spouses.
During a high net worth divorce, the court will look at all assets, how they were obtained and when they were purchased. Whether or not an asset depreciated during the marriage will also be taken into consideration. Each item is important to the final distribution of assets; therefore, all money and property must be disclosed.
What Does A Forensic Accountant Do?
Forensic accounting is a specialized area of accounting relating to areas of fraud, money laundering, bribery and embezzlement. A forensic accountant may also deal with identity theft, securities fraud, trademark and patent infringements, as well as compensation disputes. In addition to working with individuals in need of forensic accounting services, these professionals commonly partner with businesses and government agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
A forensic accountant uses his or her extensive knowledge base and skills to analyze, audit, and investigate an individual’s finances or business. The services provided by a forensic accountant typically result in an accounting analysis that is suitable for most legal proceedings. Forensic accountants look at more than just the numbers. They also look closely at the unique case at hand and how crimes like fraud or embezzlement could explain a particular financial situation.
Although forensic accountants have many job duties, examining data to determine where missing money has gone and how best to recover it is one of their primary responsibilities. In a legal proceeding, they may present reports of their findings and testify as expert witnesses. Fraud within marriages and ultimately divorces are not that uncommon. One spouse may choose to hide money or assets to prevent the other spouse from obtaining these funds in a divorce. It is the job of a forensic accountant to identify these hidden assets to ensure fair property division.
Why Hire A Forensic Accountant For A Divorce?
There are many reasons why a client may want to hire a forensic accountant when involved in a high net worth divorce. Forensic accountants can help clients uncover hidden assets, distinguish personal expenses, assess financial inconsistencies, appraise high-value assets and evaluate the long-term financial effects of a divorce.
Forensic accountants act as a member of the client’s team and help assess and disclose financial information relating to property division, child support and alimony. A forensic accountant can review bank accounts, tax statements, credit card statements, stocks, retirement accounts, deeds and all other financial data owed by a person. Any suspicious findings or behaviors are documented and investigated for the client’s best interests.
In any divorce, all assets must be discovered early in the process to ensure that each party receives their fair share. When one party fails to report specific funds, accounts or assets to the court, whether on purpose or by mistake, it could significantly change the outcome of how the assets are divided.
Speak With An Experienced Divorce Attorney Today
In a high net worth divorce, property division can be a highly complex and labor-intensive process. Some spouses may be reluctant to give up their money or assets and may attempt to hide or conceal accounts or property to prevent it from going to the other spouse. When this happens, it can be difficult to prove that the other spouse is hiding assets.
To ensure a satisfactory outcome during a high net worth divorce, work with a forensic accountant and divorce attorney with experience in high net worth divorces. For more information or to speak with a divorce attorney, contact the experienced divorce attorneys at SIEGELLAW.