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Should a forensic accountant be on your divorce team?

As you and your spouse contemplate obtaining an Illinois divorce, you may have the uneasy feeling that (s)he will hide, or already is hiding, marital assets from you so as to take unfair advantage of you when it comes time to draft a property settlement agreement. Unfortunately, asset hiding represents a not uncommon practice among greedy or vindictive spouses, especially high-asset ones.

Should your spouse choose to engage in this practice, (s)he has a number of options available to him or her to accomplish those purposes. Consequently, as FindLaw explains, you may need to add a forensic accountant to your legal team in order to find and track these hidden assets.

Forensic accountant qualifications

Not all accountants are created equal. While many Certified Public Accountants also have the advanced education and training required to do forensic accounting work, many do not. Consequently, you and/or your attorney should carefully search for and choose an accountant who has the following abilities:

  • To search for, find and track your spouse’s hidden assets
  • To determine, analyze and track his or her cash flow
  • To discover and analyze any inconsistencies among his or her complex financial documents
  • To establish the value of his or her real estate and business interests
  • To determine the value of all marital property, plus that of your and your spouse’s respective nonmarital property
  • To understand and calculate the tax implications of various property divisions that you may contemplate

Expert witness

One of the most important functions your forensic accountant will perform is that of expert witness during your divorce hearing or trial. Therefore, make sure you choose one who can clearly and concisely explain potentially complex and complicated financial concepts and calculations to a judge or jury. All in all, the outcome of your divorce may very well rest on the abilities of your forensic accountant.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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