Lisa L. Johnson, Attorney at Law
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How to beat a spouse who lies about their finances in a divorce

You’re suing your husband for divorce. You’ve hired a divorce attorney, and you’ve requested all of the necessary financial records from your ex. But he’s been delaying—a lot. When he finally hands over his records, they’re a complete mess—you can barely make sense of them. And you have a sneaking suspicion he’s trying to hide something. A lack of clarity regarding your husband’s financial landscape puts you in a vulnerable position.

In high-asset divorces in particular, identifying and dividing assets can be a convoluted undertaking. If your husband owns his own professional practice or business, the division probably won’t be straightforward—especially if there are complex partnerships involved. If your husband has always handled your marital finances, there may be vested or unvested stocks that you’re not even aware of. There could be hidden trusts. He might have even set up accounts or bought properties in other parts of the country—or other parts of the world.

You suspect you don’t have a complete picture of your husband’s net worth, but you can’t accuse him based on a hunch. In such cases, hiring a divorce lawyer may not be enough. You may also want to add a forensic accountant to your divorce team.

A forensic accountant is a financial expert who is trained to look for red flags and missing pieces in financial records. They may analyze tax returns over multiple years to look for alarming trends. They may examine bank accounts for signs that money is being diverted. They can uncover a wide variety of fraudulent or unethical financial practices—which can provide enormous benefit for you in a divorce.

As an added benefit, a forensic accountant can testify on your behalf in court. This can be a welcome relief, because it eliminates the need for you to be cross-examined on financial matters.

The division of property can be one of the most complex aspects of a divorce—particularly when high-value assets are involved. One oversight can have major implications on your financial future. Hiring a forensic accountant to clearly and definitively sort out your finances can be invaluable.

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