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The use of forensic accountants in divorces

For divorcing couples in Georgia that are financially well off, the division of property and assets can quickly become murky. Items such as the house, cars, furniture and other personal belongings are often agreed on early on in the process. When the financial portfolios begin to be reviewed, however, the trouble can start.

Even if the divorcing parties are somewhat agreeable to what they are willing to divide and part with, it can be hard to determine what is fair. Stocks, trusts, savings bonds, retirement accounts, real estate holdings, business income, art and antiques can all present special challenges when it comes to valuation and equitable distribution.

A spouse who is financially well off will most certainly have a team of lawyers and other types of experts to assist throughout the process. One expert they should seriously consider having on their team is a forensic accountant. These professionals examine both personal and business records and will look for what is obvious and what is not so readily apparent. They are specifically trained to unearth items that one party may be trying to keep hidden. If there is any question of fraud on either side, a forensic accountant will normally be retained.

Some divorcing spouses hesitate to add another person to their list of experts. However, any person that is concerned about the property division phase may want to weigh the costs of hiring another professional versus losing a large amount of money. Along with an experienced divorce attorney, a financial professional can be a valuable asset when preparing for the negotiation of a comprehensive settlement agreement.

Source: Forbes, "Why A Forensic Accountant Belongs On Your Divorce Team", Jeff Landers, September 04, 2014

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