When you got married, and you and your spouse were starting your careers, you let your better half handle the money. Your incomes were relatively small, as were your expenses. Dealing with the household cash wasn’t that hard.
Things changed over the years. Your incomes grew. You bought homes. You had kids. You have retirement accounts and have contributed to college funds. Not wanting to deal with all that, you continued to have your spouse deal with the money.
Now that you’re getting divorced, however, you need access to your financial information, and your spouse provides it. But as you review it, you think to yourself, “This can’t be right. We should have thousands more than this.”
Maybe it really is right, but it is possible that your spouse isn’t being honest. Perhaps, knowing a divorce could happen, they started siphoning some money to a friend or sibling to hold on to until later. Maybe they charged huge amounts to the credit card, knowing you’d be half responsible for the bill on the joint account. You’ll need help getting to the bottom of your finances. That’s where a forensic accountant can be helpful in a high-asset divorce.
A forensic accountant’s job is to follow the financial paper trail, and that can come in handy in a divorce. The accountant looks to find assets, whether in a hidden bank account or elsewhere, by first asking for information, then going the route of the courts if necessary. While it can be a long process, the good thing is that the assets usually are found. Even if you are the spouse who isn’t in control of the finances, you can request a copy of your tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service, and that’s a good starting point for the forensic accountant.
If you suspect your spouse had done something that will affect you negatively financially, ask your divorce attorney if bringing a forensic accountant onto your team would be a wise idea.