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How do you know what you're missing?

When your marriage comes to an end, you hire a legal professional to assist, as the technicalities of New York matrimonial law continues enough complexities to cause problems for experienced attorneys, let alone someone who has never even seen a copy of New York's Domestic Relations Law or the necessary corollary, the CPLR (Civil Practice Law and Rules, the rules of court for civil cases).

This complexity is just the substantive and procedural law that governs your New York divorce. If you have a complex financial situation, for instance, your spouse owns their own business, or is owners in a closely held company or family business, the potential for complexity and potentially sophisticated fraud is greatly increased.

For a high net worth divorce, determining the proper asset valuation of the marital property is paramount. If that number is incorrect or has been misstated, every number that follows it will be flawed.

That you will want to employ a financial accountant to help examine your spouse's financial records is a certainty. But if they own a business or have complex and exotic investments, you may need an additional financial professional. A forensic accountant is trained to untangle intentional obfuscation with respect to financial records and find the presence of absence.

A business owner may hide income by inflating payroll payments, moving assets to phony corporate entities or by manufacturing debt. If they have done this long enough, the last few years of tax and financial records may appear sound, but may be significantly misleading.

During a divorce, it is essential that your property division be accurate. If you get it wrong, you would need to prove actual fraud for a New York court to reopen the asset division. And if you missed the fraud during the original discovery proceedings, it is unlikely your odds will improve after the divorce is finalized, absent someone coming forward with inside information.

Forbes.com, "Why A Forensic Accountant Belongs On Your Divorce Team," Jeff Landers, September 4, 2014

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