Divorces are not only stressful but also very time-consuming. There is actually so much that goes into getting a divorce, including custody agreements and dividing your assets. Then there are times when you might need to look a little deeper into your finances if you feel your ex-spouse could be hiding assets. The process of dividing assets that you have accumulated throughout your marriage and looking into your finances can become complicated. It’s also common for you and your soon-to-be-ex not to agree on current or future finances. For these reasons, you may need to hire a forensic accountant for your Texas divorce.
A trusted Texas divorce attorney will be able to recommend an excellent forensic accountant and also be able to walk you through the process or any questions you may have. This article will also explain more in-depth what is exactly a forensic accountant and why hiring one may be beneficial for your texas divorce.
What is a Forensic Accountant?
A forensic accountant (or FA as we call them) can help with your divorce in Texas. They can help you sort out finances when your spouse might be hiding something. A forensic accountant can look at all assets and ensure they are valued correctly. The FA may search bank accounts, investments, real estate, and business investments. They will carefully review years of bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial documents to get the full picture of your assets.
“Forensic accountants are specialists at unraveling financial puzzles.”
When it comes to looking for hidden assets, a forensic accountant will use a number of different methods to locate assets. Their job is to gather more information about where the spouse may have hidden their assets. By requesting certain documents such as income tax returns, reviewing public records, and looking into checking and savings account history. These investigative measures will often lead the forensic accountant to positively identify and locate hidden funds so that the court can properly divide these assets. A forensic accountant will also provide divorce documentation from their findings to present to your attorney and the courts.
These specialists have gone through many years of schooling to earn their particular degrees. Some of their professional degrees may include:
- CPA – certified public accountant
- CFE – certified fraud examiner
- CFF – certified in financial forensics
Reasons You May Need a Forensic Accountant For Your Texas Divorce
Since every divorce is so different. Some breakups involve more finances than others. Some divorces have a spouse attempting to hide money. Typically assets that a spouse may try to hide include cash, mutual funds, stocks, cryptocurrencies, insurance policies, etc. Usually, these types of assets are hidden in off-shore accounts or even just a normal account that a spouse might not know about.
Other divorces include a family-owned business or highly profitable business where assets and finances need to be divided. It’s best to speak with your divorce lawyer if you think you may need to hire a forensic accountant. We recommend bringing them on early in the divorce process to help you gather the necessary information.
Some of the main functions of a forensic account are:
- Calculate how much money is available for alimony and child support payments. Click here to see the breakdown of how child support in Texas is calculated.
- Determine assets that are individually owned and those owned by both spouses (community property).
- Uncover hidden income or assets – including cryptocurrency.
- Find the value of assets including art, heirlooms, or collectibles.
- Receive assistance on how to divide a business
- Advise you on long-term impacts such as taxes.
This is not a complete list of a forensic accountant’s role in the divorce process. Your Texas divorce lawyer may hire an FA for these or other reasons, depending on your unique situation.
What to Look For When Hiring a Forensic Accountant
Once it has been determined that you need a forensic accountant, the next step is finding one that is right for you. You don’t want to hire the first person you find online. Instead, you’ll want someone with several years of experience. You should also know often they have testified in court and how many evaluations they have done. You’ll want someone with a combination of these skills. As mentioned above, a good divorce attorney in Texas should have some great recommendations for you.
If you hire a forensic accountant, this will be an additional cost, and the price range differs depending on their experience. If the court chooses to assign one, you and your spouse will split the cost.
Working with Your Texas Divorce Attorney
It is best that you consult with your Texas divorce attorney as to who they recommend as a forensic accountant. Your divorce attorney and your forensic accountant will be able to work alongside you to help you understand your assets, recover any hidden assets, and help to divide your community property assets as you go through your divorce.