Do I Need a Forensic Accountant?

The divorce process is often a painful one, but it can be even more frustrating and difficult when you suspect your ex-spouse is hiding assets. The more complex your financial situation, the more likely you’ll need a forensic accountant in San Francisco, CA. If you’re considering hiring one, read on to learn more about how they can assist in the divorce process.

Divorce and financial issues

As you know, divorce is rife with financial implications. Many couples spent their marriage commingling their funds, which can make it difficult to determine who is legally entitled to which assets. When children are involved, it can affect child support and custody.

A forensic CPA works with a party’s lawyers to analyze financial records. This might be as simple as figuring out which items are separate property and which are community property, or as complex as trying to find hidden assets. They can also help value real estate, investments and other marital assets, and spot inconsistencies between what the parties claim versus what their financial records indicate.

Here are some of the ways a forensic CPA might be able to help your case:

  • The discovery process: The evidence-gathering part of a lawsuit is called discovery. This involves both parties making requests (or rather, demands) that the other party turn over important documents, physical items and more. During the discovery process, your lawyer can work with a forensic accountant to make sure they’re requesting the right documentation through subpoenas and motions. They may also help by assisting with interrogatories—a formal, written “question and answer” process that helps identify, clarify or solve issues before trial. If you know you’ll be dealing with complex financial issues, make sure your attorney hires a forensic CPA to help.
  • Valuing assets: Another way a forensic accountant can assist is in valuing assets. For example, if your ex owns their own business, medical or legal practice, you’d need to know how much it’s worth before you can ask for your fair share. They can help separate business from personal expenses, trace whether an asset is separate or community property and figure out the exact amount of monthly cash flow. In other words, it’s not enough to make an educated guess as to value—courts will want exact numbers.
  • Finding hidden assets or inconsistencies: Finally, forensic accountants can identify inconsistencies in financial records and discover hidden assets. Many divorcing couples try to hide assets so they don’t have to split them with their ex, or so their monthly cash flow looks a lot lower. This might lower their monthly child or spousal support payments in San Francisco, CA—unless they’re brought to light. No one wants to imagine they married someone who would do that, but it’s a very common issue in divorce cases.

If you’re going through a divorce and need the help of a forensic accountant to find, value and separate assets in San Francisco, CA, reach out to Medina & Company Consulting, Inc. today to schedule a consultation.