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When should you put a forensic accountant on your legal team?

May 20, 2019 | Firm News

You and your spouse have worked hard to accumulate assets during your Colorado marriage. But now the two of you plan to divorce, and you have the jittery feeling that (s)he has started working just as hard to try to hide some of those marital assets so (s)he will achieve a better post-divorce financial situation and you will be left with less than what you are entitled to. What should you do?

FindLaw advises that marital asset hiding has been going on for decades. Vindictive or greedy spouses often engage in this illegal activity prior to a divorce. Unfortunately, today’s technology gives them not only more ways to do it, but also more places to hide those assets. Often it takes a forensic accountant to find them.

Forensic accountant capabilities

If you and your attorney decide to add a forensic accountant to your legal team, you should remember that not all accountants have received the advanced financial education and training that qualifies them as forensic accountants. Consequently, be sure to look for one capable of doing all of the following:

  • Discovering and tracking the assets your spouse may have hidden
  • Discovering and tracking your spouse’s hidden business and/or real estate holdings
  • Analyzing your spouse’s cash flow situation to find red flags indicating the possibility of hidden assets
  • Analyzing all of your spouse’s complex financial records to find discrepancies among them indicating the possibility of hidden assets
  • Competently calculating the value of your and your spouse’s respective separate property as well as the value of your combined marital property

Excellent communicator

In addition to possessing outstanding financial expertise, your forensic account should likewise possess excellent communication skills. Why? (S)he will need to explain to you the tax consequences of any proposed property settlement agreement. (S)he likewise also will serve as your financial expert witness at your divorce hearing or trial. As such, (s)he needs to possess the ability to adequately but succinctly explain complex financial concepts and calculations to the judge and/or jury.

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

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