Trust is often in short supply when a couple begins divorce proceedings. When the proceedings involve large sums of money, that lack of trust might be warranted.

If one spouse handled the bills and money management for the family, the other spouse is at a disadvantage when it comes to discovering the family’s full financial picture. The spouse that handled the money might use this advantage to hide assets that might affect the equitable distribution of funds, spousal support or child support.

A forensic accountant has specialized skills not only as a certified public accountant but also as someone whose testimony is valuable in court. If your spouse has income from a business that deals with a large amount of cash, or has been hiding money for years, a forensic accountant can help discover if your spouse is hiding assets from you and your law team by:

  • Underreporting income
  • Overpaying creditors
  • Padding payroll
  • Transferring assets
  • Creating fake debt
  • Using secret cash to buy expensive items

A forensic accountant will look at your spouse’s tax returns, including:

  • Wages
  • Interest and dividend income
  • Retirement distributions
  • Carryforwards
  • Refunds
  • Itemized deductions
  • Miscellaneous deductions
  • Foreign accounts
  • Supplemental income from rental property, royalties and investments.

Also, if your spouse has applied for a loan, the bank likely will have required recent pay stubs, account records and a declaration of all assets and debts.

Benefits of hiring a forensic accountant

A forensic accountant can provide services such as specialized investigation, exclusive reports, and assistance with depositions and testimony. They examine past tax returns, bank statements, email, memos, corporate documents and any financial document available to find any evidence of “imputed income,” or financial wrongdoing.

Help with testimony during depositions is often overlooked. A deposition is conducted under oath and lying under oath is considered perjury. If your lawyer has advice from a forensic accountant who has examined your spouse’s finances, a deposition can provide assets involved in the divorce.