Going through a divorce can be extremely frustrating and difficult if your spouse owns his or her own business and is trying to hide assets and money. If you were involved in the business before you decided to get divorced, you might know that he or she is hiding these things, but how can you prove it? If finding this out will affect the amount of money and assets you receive in the settlement, you may want to hire a financial forensics accountant to help you. Here are three things to understand about this issue.
Why It is So Important
When a couple divorces, the lawyers handling the case will determine how to offer a fair settlement to both parties, and the settlement will be based on these three factors:
The goal of achieving a fair settlement is dividing each of these things in half so that each spouse receives an equal portion. If there is a prenuptial agreement in effect, this will not be nearly as important; however, it will depend on the agreement itself.
Steps A Forensic Accountant Will Take
Forensic accountants are trained to decipher financial information, locate discrepancies, and trace money. Because of this, they are able to find hidden money and assets through a variety of different techniques. Here are some of the ways they do this:
- Scrutinizing bank statements – Looking at bank statements is a great way to see an influx of money as well as where the money went. If there were large cash withdrawals made, the accountant will investigate where the money went.
- Analyzing discrepancies – Any time an accountant finds something that doesn't add up, he or she will further evaluate it to determine if the money was used for something else.
- Dissecting financial statements – Because your spouse runs a business, the accountant will look for a number of red flags, including finding things the business paid for that were actually personal expenses.
- Evaluating valuations of assets – In addition, the accountant will look up the values of all assets your spouse owns to make sure they are valued high enough.
Through these techniques, the accountant might find that your spouse is using funds inappropriately or hiding things from you. If this is the case, you may end up receiving a divorce settlement that is much better than you initially expected.
When These Services Should Be Used
There are times when forensic accountants are beneficial in divorces and times when they are not. The first thing to understand is that this service is not free. To hire a forensic accountant to help with your divorce proceedings, you should expect to pay around $3,000 total. These accountants are highly specialized in this area and often charge up to $500 per hour. The problem is that it can take a lot of time for the accountant to sift through all the information, and this can add up.
This is why your attorney might only suggest using these services if you suspect the amount of assets and income your spouse is hiding is extremely high. If you suspect he or she is hiding only a small amount of money, it would not make sense to pay a lot of money to unveil this discovery.
Using a forensic accountant can be a great way to ensure that you are receiving a fair divorce settlement. If you would like to learn more about how this could help you during your divorce, talk to your lawyer and talk to a forensic accountant, or check out websites like http://www.eppsforensics.com.