A divorce, even if you have few assets, is a messy business. Divorce has a strong emotional impact which can often lead to a large amount of stress, but when you mix in the financial aspect of the of a divorce, things can get hectic as each side of the marriage scrambles to protect their share of marital assets in order to survive and thrive after a marriage. This is what makes high net-worth divorces so much more complicated than your standard divorce.
The primary concern of a high net-worth divorce is a division of the many complex financial assets shared within a marriage. Combined with emotional factors, couples will try to protect what they believe is theirs and this can lead to them taking some not so legal steps. Furthermore, even if they aren’t being malicious about it, not claiming or actively hiding assets is still just as illegal and can lead to further complications. For this reason, it is highly recommended that at least one side of a splitting couple should invest in a forensic accountant.
What Does a Forensic Accountant do?
Not completely unlike a forensic specialist that helps police officers solve crimes by analyzing evidence, a forensic accountant helps one side of a divorcing couple make sure they get a fair division of the assets by fully analyzing what assets there are. They analyze different accounts and the income that should be coming into them to make sure that they match up. They help not only itemize assets that are shared by a marriage, but most importantly, they can determine if your soon-to-be ex-spouse has been hiding assets and estimate the amount that they might be hiding.
Why is it Important to Find Hidden Assets?
If you are filing for a divorce, chances are it didn’t just come out of nowhere. You have likely seen your marriage dissolving for some time before taking the final step, and there is a good chance that your spouse did too. While this isn’t always the case, some spouses may start to abandon ship early in terms of finances. This means taking money out of personal or investment accounts and moving it to places where they think it won’t be found by the courts when it comes time to divide up the property.
If there is less money in your shared personal account and less investments, this means that there are less assets in a marriage and means there is less to split. In essence, it skews the courts views of your finances and means your ex-spouse who was hiding funds gets to keep more.
A forensic accountant can be a boon for determining if this has been happening. It is particularly important to invest in one if your ex-spouse also has significant control over the finances as well. What they will do is look over all income and receipts for your finances over a certain amount of time, and if that income doesn’t add up with your expenditures, then it is clear that money is missing. It is also highly suspicious if certain investments or accounts were closed down and there aren’t any new investments or accounts to replace them, or the money placed in new accounts doesn’t add up to the previously closed account.
Once it has been determined that your ex-spouse may be hiding assets, this evidence can be taken to the court, and in many cases, even the suspicion of hiding assets will cause the court to award the amount missing in your favor. Of course, this process is all very complicated, which is why you not only need a forensic accountant, but an experienced divorce lawyer at your side. These two dedicated professionals side-by-side can help you get the most out of your high net-worth divorce. If you are filing for divorce and need an attorney to help you get the most out of it, contact us today.