Forensic Accountants and How They Can Help
Divorce, for many, is a financially devasting experience. All financial information from past to present including bank statements, credit card charges, business dealings, property ownership, asset, and debt accumulation, trip and vacation expenses, incomes, and expenses must be out in the open for both sides to see. Ideally, a couple will be open and honest and take charge of their outcomes by compromising and agreeing to a marital settlement during mediation. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, either the open and honesty or the marital settlement. If there is no marital settlement, the case will then be scheduled for Family Court where a judge will hear testimony, review evidence, and listen to the arguments of the attorney representing each party.
Before going to court the Family Law attorney hired by his or her client will be taking further steps to ensure the judge has all the information needed to make an informed decision in the best interest of his or her client. Legal avenues such as Depositions, Interrogatories,Disclosure, Request for Production and Admissions of Fact will be used to learn as much about the life and finances of the opposing party as possible. Sometimes, in the course of investigation it is discovered or at least suspected the other party is not telling the truth about their financial dealings. At this point, an attorney may call in a Forensic Accountant to help ferret out the truth.
A Forensic Accountant is a person who is educated, trained, and licensed to investigate and give qualified reports in the areas of accounting, audits, and matters involving the finances of an individual or business. A Forensic Accountant is allowed by the courts to testify as an expert witness. According to The Legal Dictionary.com, an “expert witness is a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical, who may present his/her expert opinion without having been witness to the lawsuit or criminal case.”The Forensic Accountant can do audits, review business and personal financial records, and find out where money and financial assets are coming from and where they are going. Financial liabilities and debts can also be investigated.
As a consultant to an attorney, a forensic accountant can gather accurate information regarding retirement accounts, monies earned, saved, invested borrowed, and owed, The truth can be learned about taxes, actual income received (not all income is reported to the IRS), true market value of a business and why a sudden loss of income or downsize of lifestyle occurred. All these facts will contribute to a judge being able to decide on issues of alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, and child support.
It is true using a forensic accountant is costly. However, especially in high profile divorces, the final outcomes will often more than makeup for the additional expense. Your attorney will know when it is advisable to use a Forensic Accountant. For further information regarding this issue and for helpful advice on getting a Florida divorce you can contact Family Law Attorney Grant J. Gisondoto make an appointment at (561)530-4568 for a free, initial, in-office consultation. Attorney Gisondo practices in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami Dade, Broward, Orange, and Hillsborough counties in Florida and in New York and Washington DC. His office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, Saturday’s from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.