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How Can a Forensic Accountant Help in a Divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 26, 2019 | Divorce

How can a forensic accountant help in a Divorce in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Encinitas or Rancho Santa Fe?  What is a forensic accountant and why would it be necessary to properly identify and value the assets within community property.

The two primary reasons for a forensic accountant in a divorce is to help identify the valuation of financial assets and find hidden assets when one party isn’t forthright or fully disclosing all assets and accounts as required by California law.  The attempt to hide, partially obscure or deprive assets from one’s spouse in California is serious business.  Spouses have a fiduciary duty to one another to fully disclose all accounts, funds, assets and real property within the financial disclosures.

The failure to fully, transparently and accurately disclose all accounts, assets and property can have dire consequences when those actions come to light.  There is a famous example in the late 90’s when a California woman hid lottery winnings from her husband in a divorce case.  When her deeds came to light the judge awarded all of her winnings to her former husband, finding she had acted out of malice and in a fraudulent manner.

In cases of substantial wealth, the ownership of a business or the presence of trusts it may simply be a challenge to properly classify the nature and actual value of an asset.  For example, there might be two investment accounts containing stocks with a value of $100,000.  However, one account may have a tax basis of $10,000 while the other has a tax basis of $90,000.  If each account were liquidated after the divorce both would truly be worth the $100,000 pre-tax.  However, if each spouse was awarded one of these apparently equal accounts one spouse would owe taxes on a $10,000 capital gain while the other would owe taxes on a $90,000 capital gain.  The net value of the accounts after tax is substantially different.

Forensic accountants are investigators and sophisticated accountants.  They have the skill, expertise and technology to search for missing information, data, accounts, domestic and offshore assets.  How can a forensic accountant help in a divorce in Carlsbad?  They can find and identify the accurate value of assets which have been secreted, hidden or undervalued.  This helps to ensure you receive your full and fair portion of community property during your divorce.

The Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq work with a full team of experienced and proven experts such as our forensic accountants to support our client’s needs in complex and high net worth divorce cases.

If you are concerned your former spouse is not fully disclosing assets and accounts, is attempting to hide money or is under-reporting financial accounts we can help you to obtain the real answers and hold them properly accountable.  Community property should be divided in a fair manner, and we aggressively protect our client’s goals and financial interests.

We invite you to review the recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment.