Divorce is an arduous process that can be wrought with emotions, not to mention financial strain. While a stressful time in life, the choice of how and when to involve professionals in the proceedings is essential. The right team can help you make informed decisions that protect your rights and finances: attorneys to cover legal matters, therapists for emotional support--and a forensic accountant?
In this blog post, we'll explore whether hiring a forensic accountant for your divorce is worth it or not. If you're considering utilizing their specialized services during your divorce proceedings, then read on to learn more about what they do and when it makes sense (or doesn't) to bring one into the mix.
Do I Need a Forensic Accountant for My Divorce?
Forensic accountants use investigative accounting to audit and analyze financial information and often help with money-based issues in criminal, civil, and family law matters. You may benefit from the help of a forensic accountant during your divorce if you have unique or complex financial concerns.
For instance, couples involved in high-asset or high-net-worth divorces can benefit from help for forensic accountants. In these cases, a forensic accountant can investigate and reveal financial information that can affect property division, spousal support, and child support determinations.
Business owners also often use the services of forensic accountants. In divorce, business owners may need help evaluating the worth of the business or determining what their definitive income is (to help with property division and alimony terms).
Forensic accountants are also a big help in cases where either spouse believes that the other party has committed an unethical financial practice. Common financial concerns include hiding assets, falsifying income or deb information, and undervaluing assets.
Using a Forensic Accountant During Divorce
Forensic accountants can serve in many different capacities during a divorce. Here are some of the different ways a forensic accountant can help your case:
- Uncovering unethical practices. During your divorce, you may be worried that your partner hid assets, created fake debts, padded their payroll, underreported their income, or did something unethical to influence alimony, child support, or property division determinations. If you are worried about fraud, a forensic accountant can work to uncover the financial truth.
- Conducting appraisals. To help with the property division process, a forensic accountant can adequately value your assets, including but not limited to businesses, antiques, art, and collectibles.
- Explaining tax implications. During your divorce, you will make a lot of decisions that can impact your financial future; certain decisions also have tax implications. A forensic accountant can advise you on those implications.
- Acting as an expert witness. A forensic accountant can testify as to their findings in court and act as an expert witness.
- Tracing the ownership of assets. If you and the other party disagree about whether an asset is separate or marital property or debt, a forensic accountant can review your accounts and ownership history to make a determination.
- Reviewing the opposing counsel’s financial evidence. If the other party also retains a forensic accountant or submits financial evidence, a forensic accountant can review those documents and develop a strategy to refute or combat those claims.
- Estimating potential child and/or spousal support payments. In addition to verifying each party’s reported income, a forensic accountant can calculate what your child support and/or spousal support payments will be.
- Tracing the use of marital funds. If either party worries that the other has wastefully dissipated marital assets, a forensic accountant can seek to prove or disprove those claims.
Who Pays for a Forensic Accountant in a Divorce?
A forensic accountant can cost about $300-$500 per hour, and on average, a divorce case for a forensic accountant can cost over $3,000. The party who wishes to hire a forensic accountant pays for their services. Thus, if you want to track missing funds or unearth falsified financial information, you will have to cover the cost of a forensic accountant.
During your initial consultation with an attorney, you can ask whether they believe you will need a forensic accountant and if they have estimates concerning costs. You can better financially plan based on the attorney’s recommendations.
Get Legal Help
No one ever said divorce was easy, but with the help of a forensic accountant, it doesn't have to be as complicated or expensive. Forensic accountants can help untangle the financial aspects of your divorce so you can move on with your life.
If you have complex financial issues, such as being a business owner or having a lot of high assets, you can benefit from retaining a forensic accountant, and you will need the help of an experienced and qualified attorney.
Backed by over 20 years of legal experience, our attorney is equipped to evaluate your case and develop tailored solutions. If you or a loved one are getting a divorce, you can trust our firm to honestly advise you of your best options and help you achieve the best possible case results. Our firm handles divorces involving high assets, high net worth, business owners, and other complexities, and we can connect you with needed experts, including private investigators, child psychologists, and forensic accountants.
Contact William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys online or via phone (215) 515-9901 to schedule a case consultation and discuss your case.