When A Forensic Accountant is Needed in Your High-Value Divorce

When A Forensic Accountant is Needed in Your High-Value Divorce

When I first began practicing family law, nearly all of the income and assets in a marriage were acquired by the husband. Today, with a growing number of women owning successful businesses or holding high-powered, high-paying executive positions, it’s not uncommon for the wife to be as well-off financially as her husband. 

As a result, along with a marital home and autos, for couples with complex assets achieving an equitable distribution of marital property can be even more complex. There may be closely-held businesses or professional practices, complicated partnerships, stock options and restricted stock, deferred compensation, retirement and insurance plans, and various types of trusts, multiple properties in different states or even other countries. There is likely to be valuable art and antiques or rare collectables. 

When a man or father in New Jersey is involved in a complex, high-asset divorce, we often bring in financial professionals such as a forensic accountant to trace the flow of money during the marriage, determine the value of a business or professional practice, assess the future value of unrealized stock options and deferred comp plans, and to examine all aspects of the couple’s net worth.

If a divorcing man or father in New Jersey ends up going to court over dividing the couple’s complex assets, their income or some other money-related issue, a forensic accountant can testify on behalf of our client about specific financial issues.

Divorce Advice for Well-Off Men in New Jersey

A forensic accountant helps our client fully understand his financial position before, during and after the divorce process. They don’t look at tax issues of the management of either person’s business but simply sort out the financial issues that arise in a divorce.

Some of the things we ask a forensic accountant to help us with during the settlement negotiation phase of the divorce include …

  • Determine the actual income of the spouse as a guide to their need for support or their ability to pay it
  • Identify and assign values to a couple’s assets and liabilities
  • Prepare a plan for dividing the assets and liabilities between the couple
  • Assess the value of any closely-held businesses or professional practices
  • Account for how joint funds have been spent since separation 
  • Trace pre-marital property to its current location and assess its value

As divorce attorneys for men in New Jersey, we recommend bringing in a forensic accountant only when a couple with substantial assets or income is unable to divide their assets and liabilities on their own. But such an addition to your divorce team may be necessary if either or both of you are more than salaried workers getting a W-2 form at the end of the year, you own assets that are more than simply a marital home plus retirement funds, if either spouse owns a business or is self-employed, or if either of you had significant assets or liabilities before the marriage and they were co-mingled in any way during the time you were together.

Ask a Divorce Lawyer for Men for Advice

When a couple has been enjoying two high-incomes and have acquired substantial assets either before or during the time they were married, achieving an equitable settlement is likely to be as complex as the reasons the union fell apart.

We have access to highly-qualified forensic accountants and other financial authorities who can help deal with many of the money issues that probably will come up during the settlement negotiations.

If you are thinking about getting a divorce and have questions about whether you may need a forensic accountant to back up your team of lawyers, please feel free to call me or one of our experienced family law attorneys for men and fathers in New Jersey. Reach us at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or, in Montclair, at 862.245.4620.

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