Robert G. Smith, PLLC

A high asset divorce often requires a forensic accountant

Asset valuation is often a factor when a New York couple's marriage is coming to an end. While most couples who are going through a divorce are of comparatively modest means, there are a great number who own significant assets that might be part of the marital property dispute. Often, those with large assets are high-profile couples who are well-known and prominent. When they divorce, it is often played out in the public eye.

These couples might find it necessary to use forensic accountants to determine exactly what marital property exists and what it is worth. This is often due to a concern over business assets, real estate, retirement plans and other forms of marital property. Unless it is known what the assets are, it is difficult to divide them equitably. A high asset divorce makes it a necessity for the assets to be examined in this way. Since there are frequently multiple different kinds of properties in a wealthy couple's portfolio, it is important for divorce attorneys to have financial professionals whose main focus is on these issues.

In these instances, the assets could be held in different ownership forms such as a partnership or trust. They could even be in different jurisdictions, making it even more difficult to value them. To increase the complicated nature of these legal disputes, some spouses choose to try and hide certain assets from the other spouse. This is a common factor in divorces in which there is a business involved.

Spouses can use various tactics to try and shield assets such as accruing income without reporting it, altering the books or asserting debts that in reality are shams. For these and other reasons, a spouse with a high net worth who is contemplating a divorce may want to ask his or her family law attorney if the use of a forensic accountant would be advisable.

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