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Should you put a forensic accountant on your legal team?

As one-half of a Florida high-asset couple seeking a divorce, you may fear that your spouse is hiding marital assets in order to deprive you of that which is legally yours and enhance his or her own post-divorce financial situation. Unfortunately, spousal marital asset hiding represents a rather common form of financial fraud practiced by a surprising number of vindictive and/or greedy spouses.

FindLaw explains that if, in fact, your spouse really is hiding marital assets from you, you may need to hire a forensic accountant as part of your legal team in order to find and track these assets.

Forensic accountant abilities

Bear in mind that most accountants are not forensic accountants. Even the majority of CPAs fail to have the advanced training and education necessary to become true forensic accounts. Consequently, as you and your attorney search for a forensic accountant to add to your legal team, do your homework and choose a person whose experience and background proves that (s)he can do the following:

  • Find and track hidden assets
  • Establish and analyze your spouse’s cash flow
  • Discover and analyze inconsistencies among his or her complicated financial documents
  • Establish his or her real estate and business ownership values
  • Understand and split out marital property from your and your spouse’s respective nonmarital property
  • Understand and compute the tax consequences of the various property settlement agreements you may consider

Expert witness

In addition to needing superior financial knowledge and ability, be sure that the forensic accountant you choose also has superior verbal ability. Remember, this is the person who will be your expert witness at your divorce hearing or trial. As such, (s)he must be able to summarize and explain what could be complex financial concepts and calculations to your judge or jury.

While forensic accountants usually charge substantial fees for their services, paying such fees represents your investment in your financial future.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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