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Is a Forensic Accountant Necessary?

Posted on in Property Division

California divorce laws, California divorce lawyerDivorce is intimidating to many clients. Adding unfamiliar terms and experts to the mix makes the experience more overwhelming. At the suggested use of a forensic accountant, a look of bewilderment creeps across many clients faces. Often their minds wander to the multitude of criminal investigation shows in which a homicide is under investigation. When discussing divorce and property division, why would forensics need to be involved? A forensic accountant has a very different job description, one that can be beneficial to even the most complex divorce cases.

What Is a Forensic Accountant?

A forensic accountant is a highly skilled professional who is utilized in divorce and property division cases. Not only are they educated and proven in an accounting capacity, but they are also able to apply these techniques and concepts to a legal investigation. In this context, forensic just means, “suitable for use in a court of law.” These accountants can analyze financial data and all related transactions then translate the information into an applicable context for the case at hand. They are uniquely capable of:

  • Identifying fraud,
  • Uncovering hidden income and assets, and
  • Performing analysis of various documents.

When Should I Consider Hiring a Forensic Accountant?

A forensic accountant can find hidden assets and inconsistencies between claims and financial records by digging deeper than traditional accountants. Scouring several years of financial records, including but not limited to tax returns, bank account statements, credit card statements and canceled checks, they are capable of determining accuracy.

It is not uncommon that during the discovery phase of divorce proceedings that a spouse will fail to produce all of the necessary assets. Whether the exclusion is out of genuine malice or simple forgetfulness, a CFA can discover extra-marital affairs, offshore accounts, and other hidden property. They have the tools and knowledge to help accomplish the following:

  • Gather all of the necessary documents and information through motions and subpoenas,
  • Value practices and other businesses for clients such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals,
  • Trace property to determine what is community and separate property,
  • Separate business expenses versus personal expenses to ensure the company is valued accurately, and
  • Determine monthly cash flow.

Hiring a forensic accountant may be a case-altering decision. While California is a no-fault state when it comes to a divorce, it is important to have all property accurately depicted. If you believe that your spouse is hiding something in your divorce proceedings, it is imperative that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to have your rights protected.

If you are interested in discussing your situation with a proven and skilled San Jose, CA divorce attorney, contact the Ventresca Law Firm today at 408-395-8822 to schedule your free initial consultation. With more than 35 years of experience providing personalized representation to local families just like you, we are willing and able to walk you through your situation and will be there to answer your questions every step of the way.

 

Sources:

http://www.acfe.com/career-path-forensic-accountant.aspx

https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/march/forensic-accountants_030912/forensic-accountants_030912

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