Divorce is complicated, and property division process quickly becomes extremely complicated when one spouse hides assets (or when one spouse believes the other is hiding assets). This happens all too often in high-asset divorce in Los Angeles, and it may call for a forensic accountant.
What do they do?
Forensic accountants use their auditing and investigation skills to find ensure complete financial transparency, which includes finding hidden assets, even if there is no intention to hide them. For example, crypto and NFTs can be easily forgotten, but have substantial value. This transparency ensures child and spousal support calculations are accurate, in addition to ensuring the marital estate value is accurate.
Do they just find assets?
No. In addition to finding hidden assets and making a full accounting of income and assets, they also value assets. This includes business, company and other asset evaluations. Though, these evaluations can cause further disputes where both spouses will need their own, independent forensic accountants.
In the courtroom
Once the forensic accountant has completed their work, they are not done. In the courtroom, they serve as expert witnesses who testify on that work and provide substantiation for the values of the assets they find. They can also provide testimony on how they traced the funds and assets to prove they should be part of the marital estate.
These experts can also explain tax implications that may affect how assets should be split. Tax issues can complicate property division because, even though an asset may be split evenly, one spouse may not receive equal benefit because of the taxes.
If there are no hidden assets, they can testify as such. From an emotional perspective, this can go a long way in ensuring both parties trust the divorce resolution. And, where the spouses can agree on who to use, they can save money by utilizing one, independent forensic accountant that can resolve financial disputes. In addition to a skilled attorney on your side, consider also requesting support from a financial expert, who can help an attorney negotiate for what is in your best interest and future goals.