Bruce C. Zivley, Attorney at Law

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Benefits of utilizing a forensic accountant

From the point of view of Texas law, a divorce can be seen as the dissolution of a contract-based legal entity and the fair division of all assets and debts attached to the entity. Although the marriage may be dissolved, the economic implications must be worked out with scrupulous attention to fairness and reasonable division of property and liability.

Property division may be straightforward, as in the case of credit card debt or the cash in a formerly joint bank account. Division of assets may be worked out with more generalized principles of fairness, sentiment and emotional attachment. This is often the case with the home, sentimental keepsakes and items of furniture. However, couples with complex financial portfolios or financial assets such as corporate stock may have a more difficult time equitably distributing the assets of the marriage. This might be the case even in an amicable divorce.

In order to divide assets fairly, it is essential to know precisely what the assets are and what they are worth. A forensic accountant can examine the parting couple's financial records and determine what complicated financial instruments such as stock options, deferred compensation, assets that are kept in trusts, high-value items such as works of art and any number of other valuable commodities are worth. They are also capable of detecting fraud and unreported income if one of the spouses has been less than forthcoming.

An attorney can be a valuable resource for people contemplating a divorce and attempting to find assistance with the difficult details of the process. The attorney may also be in contact with helpful professionals such as forensic accountants. They may be able to help organize and properly present findings for the divorce filing, the property settlement agreement and any necessary court appearances.

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

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