When people divorce, financial issues often come to the forefront. Resolving those issues for a divorce settlement is often less simple than just counting the money in the bank accounts and calculating the value of the family house. There may be many assets that one spouse is not aware of, either because the other spouse innocently managed income and investments or because the other spouse intentionally hid income and investments to shield them from being accessed by anyone other than themselves.
When one partner suspects that this may be the case, they should talk with their divorce attorney about their options. One is to secure a qualified forensic accountant, who can do a forensic analysis to find assets that are currently unknown to one spouse. Those assets may have been deliberately hidden, transferred to someone or deferred.
The forensic accountant, working with the divorce attorney, will look for signs of financial activity that looks suspicious. They may find assets that were previously unknown, like a bank account full of cash, an expensive piece of real estate, or a secret investment portfolio. All of these things can be of tremendous value with corresponding effect on the divorce settlement.
Forensic accountants may also find unexplained transactions, such as checks written to unknown individuals and wire transfers to unidentifiable individuals. Additionally, a spouse's apparent decrease in purchasing power raises the question of where the money they used to spend is going.
Many documents, such as financial statements of business and individuals, tax returns, public records, and loan applications will be reviewed in the process of seeking to uncover assets. The more assets that are turned up, the more value can be added to the divorce settlement. That is a key reason why anyone who gets a divorce, and suspects that their spouse may have assets they don't know about it, should consider asking their divorce attorney to use the services of a qualified forensic accountant.
Source: Bond Beebe, "How a Forensic Accountant Can Aid in Divorce Settlements," accessed June 02, 2017