What Forensic Accountants Can and Cannot Do When Assisting with a Divorce

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There is sometimes a misunderstanding as to the role of the forensic accountant in divorce proceedings, which is based on the common understanding of the term “forensic”. Forensic means pertaining to the law, so a forensic accountant prepares accounting reports and testifies to them to assist a judge in making a ruling regarding issues presented to him or her.

What a forensic accountant can do to help with a divorce case.

  • We can act as expert witnesses to get information into evidence when no one else can.
  • We can determine the value of a business for property division.
  • We can calculate income available for child and spousal support and the amount to be paid in support.
  • We can determine the amount of separate property to be claimed before the community property is divided.
  • We can lay out a suggested division of community property to help facilitate settlement instead of going to trial.
  • We can consider the tax implications of specific asset allocation divisions.
  • We can assist your attorney with the interrelationships of accounting issues and legal issues and much more.

What a forensic accountant cannot do (but others can).

  • We cannot value real estate or other assets.
  • We cannot value defined benefit retirement plans.
  • We cannot find hidden assets or bank accounts
  • We cannot subpoena documents

Megan Thompson

Megan Thompson is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA) and is Certified in Financial Forensics by the AICPA (CFF). She leads and mentors a growing staff of accountants to help serve her rapidly expanding client base.

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