Hiring a Forensic Accountant for Divorce

Why and how a forensic accountant be critical in a complex divorce


The divorce process requires parties divide everything, separate their lives in every sense. Some aspects of this notion are much easier than others - in some cases, emotionally and physically separating were the easy parts. When couples are tasked with dividing complex portfolios or many debts, it is wise to involve a forensic accountant; he or she may be able to help in unforeseen but critical ways.


Creating a MSA to spell out division of assets is an arduous task for the simplest portfolios. An experienced attorney with financial credentials can help a client through that type of case. A divorce lawyer with enough experience has seen plenty of cases and learned how to best advise their clients. But sometimes, an accountant may be needed when there is a significantly more complex portfolio.

The type of portfolio considered to be more complex would include stock options, restricted stock (vested/unvested), retirement/insurance plans, trusts, partnerships, businesses and so on. Ensuring the accuracy of an MSA can protect against major issues or complications down the road. Wording alone could be a critical problem without the right interpretation. Your forensic accountant knows the ins and outs of their industry and how to create the contract surrounding those products.

A forensic accountant may even be necessary in those complex cases that go to court. The forensic accountant can testify in a divorce case. Commonly, there are cases where a husband is refusing or delaying the discovery process to hide or manipulate evidence of wealth, businesses, and income generally. A forensic accountant can be pivotal in determining a spouse's true income and determining which assets are marital versus nonmarital. When there are many assets involved, it can be more efficient to have the forensic account handle this than your divorce lawyer. Then, the forensic accountant can testify in court if necessary at a lesser expense because all of the accounting work is already complete.

The beauty of the forensic accountant is that they are trained not to just sort or report on what is there; they have an eye for what is being withheld, which is important for the aforementioned scenario. Some examples of what can be unearthed include: creation of fake debt, padding payroll for a company, overpaying creditors and so much more. They can also provide valuation services, which also comes in handy during complex divorces with many assets.

As divorce attorneys, we provide our clients with every possible solution to help their case. We often suggest that clients consider other professionals to help with that goal. If you are involved in a complex divorce, let the experience and comprehensive knowledge of our Bucks County divorce lawyers help you through.