How Can a Forensic Accountant Assist in a Dissolution of Marriage?
Before looking at how a forensic accountant can assist in a dissolution of marriage (divorce), it is important to understand the job qualifications associated with forensic accounting. A person using this title is someone who is trained and educated, and licensed to investigate and give qualified reports in the areas of accounting, audits, and issues involving the financial status of an individual or a business. A forensic account is considered by the court an expert witness, which, according to Legal Dictionary.com is “a person who is a specialist in a subject, often technical who may present his/her expert opinion without having been witness to any occurrence relating to the lawsuit or criminal case.”
But why would a divorce case require an expert witness from a forensic account? In most cases, it is because a party in the divorce has hidden information regarding assets, debts, or other financial findings essential to the resolving of distribution of assets and liabilities, the awarding of alimony, and the awarding of child support. An attorney, through the use of financial disclosures, depositions, interrogatories, and discovery, will attempt to gain the whole financial picture. However, it sometimes takes a financial expert to ferret out the truth. And, while the cost of a forensic account is high, the results can often more than cover those costs. A judge will not look favorably on a party who has tried to hide assets and or liabilities and will consider this factor when deciding on equitable distribution, alimony, and child support.
A forensic account acts as a consultant to an attorney in finance matters, including monies earned, monies invested, saved, borrowed, and owed, and put into retirement accounts. If a business is part of the marital property, the forensic account knows how to expose all the financial dealings of that business. Using investigative skills, accounting procedures, auditing techniques, and financial document analysis, the truth can be learned about actual income earned, the true market value of a business, taxes paid, and acquisition and value of assets and debts paid and owed.
A forensic account can investigate a person’s handling of money. To avoid paying alimony or a fair amount of child support, sometimes a person will temporarily change jobs for less pay, adjust their lifestyle downward, transfer monies or marital assets to another person, use two sets of books in a business (one for the owner and one for the IRS), or hide or defer income. Another tactic used to gain increased alimony or child support is to fabricate a need for a higher lifestyle or create special needs for a child that has no special needs. A forensic account can look into these attempted types of fraud as well.
Attorney Grant Gisondo is a board-certified Family Law attorney with over a decade of successful practice. He knows the importance of financial truth and how to use a forensic accountant when necessary. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida or New York or Washington DC, Attorney Gisondo can represent you. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation to answer general questions concerning your Family Law concerns. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM for new clients. You can call his office at (561) 530-5468 to make an appointment.