The founding attorney of The Law Office of Matthew J. Rudy.
Our Law Blog and Articles is an online publication that covers our latest news, hot cases, emerging trends and big personalities in law. It’s brought to you by Attorney Matt J. Rudy.
A Divorce Litigation would use the Expertise of a Forensic Accountant?
An experienced divorce attorney will be able to advise if using a forensic expert accountant will substantially help a case for dissolution of marriage. They will know the possible financial advantages versus the cost.
The answer in a nutshell is that in determining the four essential financial considerations of a divorce, now termed dissolution of marriage, which are income, assets, debts, and expenses there is often reasons to need the expertise of a forensic accountant. Their expertise in the areas of accounting, auditing, and investigative skills concerning money issues when the case comes to court make their service valuable and often of great help to the attorney handling the dissolution of marriage. This is particularly true when it appears a party is hiding or falsifying assets, liabilities, income, or debts.
It is hoped all persons would be upfront with their financial disclosures required by Florida law in pre and post marital settlements, child support and post-settlement modifications of child support and alimony. The truth is, however, that all too often one or the other party tries to falsify information to hopefully affect the final outcome of settlement dollars including child support, alimony, and/or the equitable distribution (Florida is an equitable distribution, not equal distribution state) of marital assets and liabilities. By using an expert in ferreting out the financial truth an attorney can present a much stronger case for their client. And, since a accountant can be used as an expert witness, that is one who is not required to have had any actual involvement of any of the five senses with the litigation, his or her findings can be used in court along with his or her testimony.
Some of the ways a forensic experts can find out information helpful to a case for dissolution of marriage include the following:
- The true market value of a business.
- A thorough look at the lifestyle of a family in past months to better determine the amount and kind of alimony required.
- An in depth study of who should receive child support and how much is needed.
- If there is a discrepancy as to what income is reported, particularly when a party is self-employed, and the actual, real value amount such as equating a value to an exchange of labor for, say a paid vacation is not reported as income, a corrected amount can be determined.
- If a spouse is financing an unreasonable amount of personal expenses with what should be reported as business income.
- When a person is working a job beneath their potential skill or educational level, particularly if the person changed jobs to a lower level with significantly less income within a few months of filing for dissolution of marriage. This will help determine if an imputed income is justified.
- A person is suddenly living a lifestyle higher or lower than in previous years in hopes of receiving more or paying less alimony or child support.
- Determining the value of marital assets and the true amount of marital debt and liabilities. While any person can use a help of them with financial matters during the dissolution of marriage, it usually adds a substantial amount to the cost of litigation. Sometimes the cost is not worthy of the outcome.