Forensic accountants could play an important role in your divorce if you believe that your spouse is hiding assets. Hiding assets is illegal since both parties are expected to fully disclose their finances, but some people will attempt to do so anyway. They may believe that hiding assets is their way of “getting back” at the other person or “winning” the divorce, but if they’re caught, then they could face serious penalties.
As someone who believes that some of your assets are missing or potentially hidden, it may be a good idea to work with a forensic accountant. This person is trained to look at banking statements and other financial information to track down missing assets or assets that you may not know exist. They know how to look for assets in the usual hiding spots as well as how to track assets that may have been transferred or shifted in less-conventional ways.
How do people hide assets?
Assets are most likely to be hidden by:
- Transferring them to a third party
- Creating false debt to mask income or financial holdings
- Claiming that those items are lost or stolen when they’re not
- Denying that an asset exists or is still present in the marital estate
The trouble is that you may also not know all of your spouse’s financial holdings. Things like 401(k) accounts or retirement savings, HSA accounts or others may be in their name alone. A forensic accountant will look for these items and do their best to give you the documentation you need for court and your divorce. That way, you’ll be able to seek your fair share.
Your divorce attorney can recommend a forensic attorney and provide more information on how you can keep your soon-to-be ex-spouse from hiding assets that legally belong to you.