How a Forensic Accountant Can Help You in Divorce

How a Forensic Accountant Can Help You in Divorce

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Divorce is an inherently stressful process that affects almost every aspect of your life – financial, emotional, physical, and legal. In many situations, you will need expert services from accountant, or divorce financial specialist, besides a lawyer and a mediator. An experienced accountant/financial advisor can deal with the financial complexities of a divorce, explain the issues, and evaluate the financial alternatives in an understandable manner.

There are a number of accreditations given to accountants, and you’ll find these designations after their name. To name a few, the common designations include CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CVA (Certified Valuation Analyst), ABV (Accredited in Business Valuation), FCPA (Forensic Certified Public Accounting), CFF (Certified in Financial Forensics), CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), etc. Look for some of these accreditations when selecting your forensic accounting expert. Your forensic accountant and your divorce attorney (“counsel”) – the two members of your “divorce team” will work closely together.

Divorce financial issues generally are composed of two aspects – support (child and spousal) and division of property.Shuster & Company, PC has rich experience and expertise in all aspects of divorce accounting services.

  • Support/Maintenance

Comparing to child support, spousal support is more difficult to determine. For some cases, the maintenance can be for a long period (perhaps even permanent) to reflect an obligation to maintain someone (often older) in a customary lifestyle. Lawyers can negotiate what is fair and reasonable, and your forensic accountants can demonstrate the impact of a proposed settlement to both parties with projections of yearly cash flows and net worth for a defined long period. Shuster & Company, PC has provided years of services in assisting determination of alimony (n/k/a “maintenance”) and support awards.

  • Property Division

In U.S., every state has its own rules regarding what constitute marital vs. separate assets, and how marital assets will be divided on divorce. However, there are generally two categories – “Equitable Distribution” and “Community Property”. In a community property state, for instance in California, community property at divorce is generally divided equally between the spouses, while each spouse keeps his or her separate property. In an equitable distribution state, for instance in Colorado, assets and earnings accumulated during marriage are divided equitably (fairly), but not necessary equally.

Property division during divorce can be extremely complicated. Over the years, Shuster & Company, PC has worked closely with our clients and their attorneys in providing vital divorce services including business valuations, tracing of assets, settlement discussions, trial preparations and testimony, through each step of the process. We utilize forensic accounting skills to investigate and uncover unreported or underreported income and assets, and to trace marital assets vs. separate assets. We provide valuation reports for business ownership interests that comprise part of the marital estate, and/or other forensic financial analysis reports as necessary.

By seeking the services of experienced and licensed financial specialists, you can minimize the pain and difficulties through the divorce processing.