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Using a Forensic Accountant for Your Divorce

Forensic accounting textbook and some files

Dividing assets can be one of the most hotly-contested issues in a New Jersey divorce. Couples can end up mired in long battles over whether a property should be considered separate property, belonging only to one spouse, or marital property subject to equitable division between the spouses. There can also be disagreements over whether one spouse has made a full and honest disclosure of all their assets on their Case Information Statement provided to the New Jersey Family Part judge. Divorce attorneys working alone are typically capable of analyzing standard tax and asset information, but when facing highly complex financial issues, or when fraud is suspected, the help of an expert may be necessary. These issues are often best addressed by a forensic accountant.

Forensic accountants can address complex financial questions

A forensic accountant is a specialist in gathering and analyzing evidence and providing an expert opinion on thorny financial questions in court. Forensic accountants are often called in when the couple has a high net worth, or where the divorcing couple has invested in numerous types of financial instruments. Forensic accountants can analyze the value of, for example, a stock option, which does not have a straightforward purchase value, as well as provide valuations of other assets such as real estate, art, or antiques. Forensic accountants can also help you understand what the long-term financial consequences will be of various proposed divorce settlement agreements.

An expert eye can identify inconsistencies in financial statements

These financial experts are especially useful when one spouse owns a business, or where one spouse suspects that the other has hidden assets. Spouses who own their own businesses often have ambiguous incomes, making it difficult to identify how much they can afford to pay in spousal or child support. They may also use the business to hide assets, such as by making it appear as though they’re overpaying their creditors, padding their company payroll, or failing to report the business’ full revenues. A forensic accountant can analyze business and personal account statements and evaluate each deposit and withdrawal, looking for suspicious transactions or inconsistencies. These experts are trained in identifying what information is present in these financial statements and, often more importantly, what information is missing from these statements. Your New Jersey divorce attorney can help you decide whether you would benefit from the use of a forensic accountant for your divorce case.

If you need skilled, professional, and effective legal help with your New Jersey divorce, contact the seasoned Union family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro for a consultation at 908-964-0102.

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