Forensic Accounting for Divorce
Forensic accounting is a special practice area of accounting. It involves investigating
financial and other data, and preparing expert-level evidence that is submitted in court
(that is why the term forensic is used).
Forensic accountants work in a multitude of fields, including insurance and other
areas. However, those that deal specifically with Divorce are focused on helping a spouse
achieve a fair and equitable settlement or judgement by ensuring that the other spouse is
acting honestly and disclosing correct, complete financial information. This includes both
asset and debt levels.
Here are some of the areas that a forensic accounting practitioner will focus on during
her or his investigation for Divorce:
- Identifying "questionable" financial transactions that can relate to either
personal or business expenses
- Analyzing business declines to ensure that it's not being done to temporarily drive down
- Analyzing tax returns to ensure that lifestyle is reflected by income levels (to prevent
spouses delaying in reporting their income until after the Divorce)
- Fraudulent or questionable cash transactions or write-offs
- Hidden bank accounts
- and more..
Remember: Divorce Can Bring out the Worst in People
It's said that criminal lawyers sometimes see bad people on their best behavior, while
family lawyers and forensic accounting practitioners who specialize in Divorce often see
good people on their worst behavior. This is because the pressure and trauma of
Divorce -- not to mention the anger and sadness -- can convince otherwise "good"
people to do things that, under normal circumstances, they simply wouldn't do.
Regrettably, these bad acts can include manipulating or withholding financial information
during Divorce. While this is against the law, unfortunately, it can, does and will
continue to happen.
As such, even if you have an "honest spouse," bringing in the services of a
forensic accounting practitioner can be a prudent idea -- because, as mentioned, Divorce
can bring out the worst in people. Furthermore, your spouse may in fact submit estimates
or other financial information that he or she sincerely believes is accurate, but may, in
fact, turn out to be grossly inaccurate. You don't want to discover this after the
Divorce, when re-opening a Divorce financial settlement agreement is costly, time
consuming, and risky.
The Forensic Accounting Offices of Cathleen Collinsworth will work with you and your
family lawyer in a methodical and cost-effective way to ensure that financial information
presented to the courts by your spouse is accurate and complete. Cathleen is a Certified
Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) and a Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF™) who practices forensic accounting.