As you face the break-up of your high-asset marriage, you may have the nagging feeling that your spouse has begun to hide marital assets from you so they do not become part of your property settlement agreement. Unfortunately, many vindictive and/or greedy spouses attempt to do this, even though it represents an illegal endeavor.
FindLaw warns that in this day of sophisticated online banking, investment management and intangible asset storage, finding hidden assets has become even more difficult than it was in prior years. That is why you may wish to consider hiring a forensic accountant as well as a divorce attorney.
Forensic versus regular accountants
Unlike regular accountants and even most CPAs, forensic accountants take additional high-powered financial courses that give them the knowledge and ability to do the following types of things:
- Find, analyze and track hidden assets, particularly electronic ones
- Find, analyze and track assets hidden within complex business documents
- Find, analyze and track hidden real estate assets
- Find, analyze and track assets hidden within complex cash flow statements and other accounting records
- Understand and explain the tax consequences of various proposed property settlement agreements
In addition to all of his or her other skills, your forensic accountant should possess excellent communication skills. Why? Because (s)he ultimately will likely become your expert witness who will need to clearly explain the complexities of your particular asset situation in laymen’s terms to your judge and/or jury.
Needless to say, you can expect to pay hefty fees to a forensic accountant. Nevertheless, this outlay probably will compare very favorably to the benefits you receive from his or her work. In fact, the value of the additional marital property you receive and likely would not have known about absent your forensic accountant’s investigation could easily amount to twice as much, or more, than his or her fee.