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Using forensic accountants for divorces

Forensic accountants are often used by the wealthy to evaluate business concerns and to assess financial matters in the event of litigation. A forensic accountant may also be used in Texas when a couple is going through a divorce so that marital assets can be appropriately divided.

A professor from the Montclair State University forensic accounting program said that it is difficult to tell what marital assets are worth in a high asset divorce, and a forensic accountant is qualified to determine the value of assets like businesses, investment portfolios, properties and collectibles. Someone qualified to perform a correct evaluation is especially necessary with more complex assets like life insurance policies, retirement plans and deferred compensation arrangements.

Another problem is that both spouses might not be aware of all the assets they share, and analyzing the assets can prove challenging when an accountant has to track them down as they can be held in different jurisdictions or in trusts. In some cases, one partner may intentionally attempt to hide marital assets. A forensic accountant may have to shift through shell corporations when a business owner wants to conceal assets from a spouse. A spouse might also try to make it seem like he or she is earning less money, so a forensic account could look at tax returns, examine bank balances and dissect a spouse's finances to find one's real income.

Using both a forensic accountant and an attorney can ensure that one receives a fair amount of joint assets, as an accountant can lay out a financial picture while an attorney can assist a divorcing spouse in negotiating a settlement agreement. Prenuptial or post nuptial agreements could also help facilitate the division of assets when a couple decides to dissolve their marriage.

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