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Should you add a forensic accountant to your legal team?

If you and your high-asset Maryland spouse decide to end your marriage, you should be aware that some spouses attempt to hide marital assets during a divorce so as to not only prevent their spouse from getting his or her rightful share of them, but also to enhance their own post-divorce financial situation. Unfortunately, asset hiding by greedy and/or vindictive spouses during a divorce is not at all uncommon.

While the practice has been going on for decades, FindLaw explains that finding those assets is even more difficult today given the rise of sophisticated technology. You and your divorce attorney therefore may wish to seriously consider putting a forensic account on your legal team.

What forensic accountants can do

Keep in mind that forensic accountants are a special breed of accountants, and not every accountant has the requisite education, training and experience to perform the duties of a forensic accountant, such as the following:

  • To discover and then track your spouse’s hidden assets
  • To discover and then analyze his or her cash flow
  • To discover and then analyze whatever inconsistencies exist between and among his or her financial documents
  • To discover and then value his or her business and real estate interests
  • To determine both your and your spouse’s separate property as well as your mutual marital property
  • To know and compute whatever tax consequences are inherent in various property settlements you may consider

Expert witness

As you and your attorney search for a forensic accountant to add to your legal team, be sure to take communication ability into consideration as well as financial ability. You likely will want your forensic accountant to be your expert witness at your divorce hearing or trial. Therefore, (s)he must be able to clearly and succinctly explain what may be complicated financial concepts and calculations to your judge and the people on your jury, none of whom likely are financial experts themselves.

Naturally your forensic accountant will charge a fee for his or her services. Depending on the number of assets involved and their complexity, the fee may be a large one. Nevertheless, paying for the services of a forensic accountant may be the only way you can assure your own post-divorce financial comfort and stability.

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

FindLaw Network