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The role of the forensic accountant in a divorce

Pennsylvania residents who are going a through a divorce know that the entire process can be very emotional, delicate and complicated. Negotiating child support, child custody, alimony and the division of assets can be stressful, and even more so when the couple is wealthy with a large portfolio of assets. In these cases, a forensic accountant might be brought in.

A forensic accountant might be a necessary resource for couples going through a high-asset divorce. Often, these couples have a variety of assets and the two spouses might not clearly know what all of them are. A forensic accountant can identify all the types of assets the couple might own, such as businesses, partnerships, investment portfolios, retirement plans and collectibles. Some of these assets might be held in trust or in partnerships or they might even be in other locations. A forensic accountant might be needed to get a true valuation of all the assets before proceeding to a fair negotiation.

Forensic accountants might also be valuable if one of the spouses is attempting to hide assets from the other spouse in anticipation of the divorce. This can also include attempting to declare a lower amount of income, fake debt, or even to pad the payroll of a business venture, in order to decrease the amount the other spouse might get in a divorce settlement. Forensic accountants can investigate the spouse's financial background and find the hidden wealth to ensure that the other spouse is not cheated.

A forensic accountant might work together with the family law attorney representing one of the spouses in a divorce to create a team that can negotiate for the fairest settlement. For wealthy couples, a forensic accountant can make the divorce process less messy as it is important to be clear about all the assets before a property division agreement is entered into.

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