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Mark Abzug

When are forensic accountants needed?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Divorce, High Asset Divorce, Property Division

For those thinking about divorce, a huge concern is fairness in the asset split. After all, you both have spent a lifetime building your wealth, and both soon-to-be ex-spouses want their fair share.

However, two people can have very different ideas of what’s fair and what’s not. This is one reason why forensic accountants have exploded in popularity, especially for those going through high-asset divorces.

What they do

Forensic accountants use all the same accounting practices as a normal accountant, except they combine those powers with investigative prowess.

This means that they can not just make a full accounting of your marital estate, including debts, income and assets, but also find hidden assets (if there are any).

Who needs them?

If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you may need a forensic accountant. But forensic accountants may be valuable in more routine situations, as well.

Commonly, one spouse handles the finances, and if that is not you, a forensic accountant can be an independent, third party to ensure the accounting of your marital estate is accurate.

Forensic accountants are also indispensable for high value divorces. A forensic accountant can value those items that are not easily valued, like ownership in businesses, art, antiques and complex investments.

Dueling experts versus a shared expert

The nature of your divorce (contentious or amicable), will dictate whether you can use one forensic accountant or two. If you have an amicable divorce, you may be able to use one forensic accountant who can do all the valuations for the marital estate and help make alimony and child support decisions.

On the other hand, if it is a contentious divorce, the spouses will likely not agree on the forensic accountant, and they may even try to find one that agrees with whatever they want.

This means that the divorce will likely involve two dueling forensic accountants.

Divorce team

Your Florida attorney is just one part of your divorce team. For especially complicated or high value divorces, you may need an attorney, forensic accountant, CPA, financial advisor, broker, mental health professional and perhaps other professionals.