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High-asset divorce may be fraught with complex asset division

Divorce, as many Connecticut couples know, may be simple or complex. Asset division sometimes becomes more complex when the value of the assets increase and is not easily determined. For some high-asset couples, hiring a forensic accountant makes determining what assets exist, how complex property division is handled and what settlement scenario works best for both parties that much easier.

In some cases, determining a spouse's income is a monumental task. After requesting financial documents, the divorce team may wait not just to receive them but to receive the appropriate documents. Sometimes, one spouse may purposely present a muddled mess or leave pertinent information out. A forensic specialist is capable of reviewing tax returns to see if data was crunched to make income appear less substantial. He or she may also determine if unethical ploys were used,such as transferring income to fake corporations, or if debt or payment to creditors is skewed. If necessary, the forensic accountant may testify in court.

Another area where asset valuation gets tricky is when businesses or professional corporations must be included in the marital assets. Unless they are held separately, this requires a keen eye, something the forensic accountant may provide. Valuation of assets such as collectibles, artwork or real estate held in multiple states or internationally is less difficult when a forensic accountant is involved.

Tax issues figure prominently in a divorce. Knowing how assets such as retirement accounts, trusts and insurance portfolios are affected by taxes makes a difference in terms of a spouse getting the best settlement. An attorney may help in structuring a financial settlement that helps their client start over after divorce with a measure of financial security. Working together with a forensic accountant may make the process easier and the outcome better.

Source: Forbes, "Why A Forensic Accountant Belongs On Your Divorce Team", Jeff Landers, September 04, 2014

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