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How a forensic accountant can help in a high-asset divorce

If you and your spouse are anticipating a complicated divorce due to the complex nature of your assets, you are probably concerned about the possibility of a contentious courtroom battle.

High income and complex assets should not deter you from choosing mediation as a private and less stressful divorce option. Outside professionals, including a forensic accountant, can join your legal team.

Wanting a fair outcome

You may think your divorce is going to take months, even a year or more, because of your many and varied assets. In addition to the marital home, a vacation property in Aspen, late-model vehicles and one of the largest collections of mechanical banks in the country, you have many financial interests. These include deferred compensation, stocks, stock options, retirement plans and life insurance policies to consider as you approach property division. The goal of mediation is for you and your spouse to develop a satisfactory divorce agreement that is fair to you both, and your attorney may recommend outside help from a forensic accountant.

Understanding what this is

A forensic accountant specializes in examining business records and taxes to find irregularities that could impact the integrity of a divorce settlement. This professional was likely credentialed as a certified public accountant before pursuing his or her specialty in forensic auditing, identifying discrepancies in funds and serving as an expert witness in both criminal and civil cases, as needed.

Examining the records

Perhaps you are a nonworking spouse and have had little to do with the business interests of your soon-to-be-ex, who has also managed the marital finances. As you approach the property division phase of your divorce, you want to ensure that all marital property is out on the table and properly identified as either income or assets. You can rely on the findings of the forensic accountant, secure in the knowledge that this member of your legal team will fulfill a valuable role in helping you arrive at a fair settlement agreement.

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