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Should your legal team include a forensic accountant?

 Posted on May 01, 2019 in High Net Worth Divorce

As you proceed with your plans to obtain a Texas divorce, you may experience an uneasy feeling that your spouse has set about attempting to hide marital assets from you, especially if you and (s)he represent a high-asset couple. As you probably already know, Texas is a community property state in which, per law, spouses own all marital assets 50/50 and must divide them up that way in a divorce. Consequently, should your spouse indeed be hiding some of these assets, (s)he will receive more than (s)he should during the divorce and you will receive less than you should.

Unfortunately, due to today's technology, spouses have more opportunity to hide assets and more ways in which to do it. In addition, as FindLaw explains, such hidden assets may be exceedingly difficult to find and therefore require the services of a forensic accountant to discover and track them.

What forensic accountants do

Forensic accountants, unlike regular accountants and even most CPAs, receive specialized education and training in the art of finding hidden assets. In addition, the one you hire for your legal team also will be able to do the following:

  • Procure, examine and analyze your spouse's cash flow, looking for red flags that indicate possible hidden assets
  • Discover and analyze your spouse's business and real estate holdings
  • Analyze all your spouse's complex financial documents and discover discrepancies between and among them
  • Calculate the value of your and your spouse's respective separate property, plus the value of your combined marital property
  • Explain to you the tax consequences you face with regard to any property settlement agreement your spouse may propose

Expert communication

Since your forensic accountant likely will become your expert witness at your divorce hearing or trial, you will want to find one who is as good at explaining complex financial concepts and calculations to you and other laymen, such as your divorce judge and/or jury, as (s)he is at finding and tracking hidden assets. In other words, your post-divorce financial security may well depend on your forensic accountant.

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

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