It goes without saying that there is a lot at stake when a couple with a large number of assets gets divorced, and the sheer scope of the property involved can make these cases daunting. Many couples have assets spread across numerous types of accounts and investments across the country. Sometimes even international assets are involved. Add in the fact that in many cases one spouse attempts to hide or devalue assets to avoid giving up property in the divorce, and you have a recipe for a case that can drag on for years. However, many clients are now finding that high asset divorce cases can be simplified through forensic accounting.
What Is Forensic Accounting?
A forensic accountant is a financial professional who has investigative and auditing abilities that go far beyond that of an average accountant who may help prepare your income taxes. Similar to how a forensic scientist helps police put together what happened at a crime scene, a forensic accountant can help a divorce attorney reconstruct where assets came from, where they have been hidden, and how they have been devalued.
In addition, a forensic accountant can produce reports about his or her findings that can be introduced into evidence at hearings, and also offer expert testimony on what an investigation has uncovered. Many forensic accountants work closely with attorneys on high asset divorces and other cases, so they are often quite familiar with legal procedure.
Why a Forensic Accountant Is Valuable in High Asset Divorces
Assume one spouse has a sizable partnership active in several states, as well as a trust that holds property located across the Midwest. Figuring out the exact value of these assets would be difficult for a regular accountant, but a forensic accountant will go through years of transactional records to determine the exact value of the assets held by the partnership and trust.
In many cases, a spouse may purposely represent that these assets have a lower value to avoid paying higher taxes, but a forensic accountant can review records to find the true value of this property. And, of course, a forensic accountant can be invaluable in determining how exactly a former spouse has hidden assets from consideration in the divorce proceedings.
One other issue that regularly comes up in Illinois is the value of pension benefits. These benefits can be difficult to calculate exactly based on cost of living increases, inflation and life expectancy, but a forensic accountant can assist in producing a report that accurately reflects the value of these assets.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
Figuring out what you are entitled to is never easy in a divorce, and it only gets more complicated when a divorcing couple has a large number of different high value assets. An Illinois divorce attorney can ensure that these assets are properly valued in a divorce so that you get your fair share of marital property. Contact our dedicated and experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a consultation and to learn how we can help you.