Wealthy people in New Jersey and around the world are increasingly turning to forensic accountants when they divorce. According to financial experts, the trend is expected to grow.
In the business world, forensic accountants are brought in to address potentially questionable accounting practices by business partners and associates. However, their expertise can also be necessary when ultra-wealthy couples head for divorce court. The marital assets of high-net-worth couples are often a complex mix of businesses, investment portfolios, partnerships, trusts, collectibles and more, so a forensic accountant is commonly consulted to determine the value of the different assets. Their knowledge can also be essential in valuating assets such as deferred compensation arrangements, retirement plans and life insurance policies.
Forensic accountants are also needed when one or both spouses attempt to hide their assets during the divorce process. This is of particular concern when a spouse runs a privately-owned business. Business owners sometimes use dummy or shell corporations to conceal assets from their spouse. They may also try to keep income off the books or pad their payroll to create false debt. However, a forensic accountant can scrutinize business records, bank accounts, tax returns and investment portfolios in order to determine a spouse’s true income.
Typically, a significant amount of money is at stake when wealthy couples face the end of a marriage. To ensure all marital assets are fairly divided, a person who is facing a divorce may want to obtain the assistance of a family law attorney who has experience with these types of issues and who can help in negotiating a property division settlement agreement.