Divorce cases can be complex and contentious, and there are a variety of financial issues that will need to be addressed. When it comes to dividing marital assets and determining whether spousal support will be appropriate, it is crucial to make sure both parties have a full understanding of how their incomes, assets, and other financial factors may affect their case. In many divorces, the involvement of a forensic accountant may be necessary to ensure that a fair settlement can be reached. An attorney with experience in complex divorce cases can provide guidance on whether the assistance of a forensic accountant may be necessary, and they can make sure all legal and financial concerns will be addressed correctly during the divorce process.
What Is a Forensic Accountant?
Forensic accountants are professionals who combine their knowledge of accounting with investigative skills to analyze financial information. They can play an important role in divorce cases by helping to uncover hidden assets, assess the value of businesses or investments, determine income for spousal or child support calculations, and assist with other financial concerns.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
In some divorce cases, one spouse may attempt to hide assets in order to benefit themselves or avoid sharing certain forms of property with their former partner. Forensic accountants can dig deep into financial records and transactions in order to identify any concealed or undervalued assets. They may be able to identify assets such as offshore accounts, real estate holdings, investments, businesses, and valuable collections or artwork.
A forensic accountant will meticulously examine bank statements, tax returns, loan applications, and other relevant documentation to trace any suspicious activity that could indicate attempts at concealment. Bringing these hidden assets into light will ensure those assets will be properly included as part of the marital estate.
Valuing Businesses or Investments
If either spouse owns a business or holds significant investments such as stocks or real estate properties, a forensic accountant can make sure these complex financial instruments will be evaluated objectively. They may assess factors such as revenue streams from customers or tenants, contracts and other existing agreements, and potential for future growth.
A forensic accountant will conduct thorough research and analysis of financial statements, tax returns, industry projections, and other factors in order to accurately determine the worth of these assets. Their objective assessment helps ensure that both parties can receive a fair and equitable share of marital assets during the divorce process.
Determining Income for Support Calculations
Forensic accountants can play a vital role in determining each spouse's true income, which will be used to calculate child support obligations or determine whether one party will receive ongoing spousal support payments from the other. This type of assessment can be especially important when one spouse is self-employed or earns an irregular income. A forensic accountant can examine bank records, tax returns, payroll documents, and other relevant financial data that can help establish an accurate picture of the income and financial resources available to both parties.
A forensic accountant will take all streams of income into account, including salary, dividends from investments, and business profits distributed to shareholders. They can analyze the amount currently being earned and the income a person has earned in the past to determine the income they should be able to receive on an ongoing basis. This can ensure that a person will not be able to hide sources of income or become voluntarily unemployed or underemployed in order to reduce the amount of support they may be required to pay.
Contact Our St. Charles Complex Divorce Lawyers
If you are going through a divorce that involves complex financial matters, you may be able to work with a forensic accountant or other professionals to make sure these issues will be addressed correctly. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC., our Kane County divorce attorneys can make sure your rights and financial interests will be protected as you divide your marital assets, establish child support arrangements, and determine eligibility for spousal maintenance. To learn how we can help you complete the divorce process successfully, contact us at 630-665-7300 and set up a consultation.