What is the role of forensic accountants in divorce?

If you are preparing for a divorce and you share high value assets with your spouse, you may have concerns that your spouse may attempt to hide assets from you. Even if you expect your divorce to proceed amicably, you may worry that you or your spouse will still overlook a few assets by accident. This is why some couples hire forensic accountants to investigate their finances.

Forensic accountants, according to FindLaw, are usually Certified Public Accountants, some of which specialize in investigating the assets of couples in divorce cases. If you are considering hiring one, you may wonder how effective a forensic accountant can be in tracking down all of your assets or looking for assets your spouse may attempt to hide.

Searching financial statements

You can typically expect a forensic accountant to conduct an investigation of your financial records and those of your spouse to make sure you and your spouse have disclosed all of your assets. Your forensic accountant will also look for red flags that someone has tried to transfer or hide money.

Signs of assets suddenly disappearing may show up in a number of ways. Financial records might show a sudden transfer of money that your spouse did not account for. Your forensic accountant will likely look through credit card statements and bank statements for evidence of such activity.

Searching public records

In a divorce, a spouse that tries to hide property may dispose of it in some fashion. Your spouse might transfer an asset to someone that they trust, like a family member, who will hold the property until after the divorce, at which time the spouse may try to get it back. If you suspect your spouse may attempt this move, a forensic accountant can investigate public records to confirm that your spouse does own a certain property he or she is trying to get rid of.

Forensic accountants will look for income that may originate from sources you are not aware of or have forgotten about. Your spouse may have been a party to a financial settlement from a court case, perhaps a personal injury suit. Your spouse may also own a business which provides another source of income. A forensic accountant may check the state Secretary of State office to find financial statements for the business.