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What Is Forensic Accounting and How Can it Affect the Divorce Process?

Posted on in Asset Division

St. Charles hidden assets attorneysUnder Illinois divorce laws, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, meaning each party receives a fair share of any assets that were acquired during the marriage. However, sometimes a spouse can be dishonest, depriving the other spouse to what he or she is entitled. This can be done a number of ways, and although common in high net worth or complex divorces, it can happen in any type of divorce. Forensic accounting is defined as the use of accounting practices to investigate fraud and to analyze financial information for use in legal proceedings, such as disputes or litigation during a divorce.  

How Are Assets Hidden?

People can be creative when they want to conceal money or valuable possessions. In a lot of cases, one spouse earns the majority of the income or owns a business, so that spouse often has easier access to financial matters.

Some of the ways assets can be hidden include:

  • Forging signatures on financial documents for disclosure purposes;
  • Opening investment, checking, or savings accounts without the other spouse’s knowledge;
  • Transferring money or property to family members or friends;
  • Keeping money or valuables at a bank in a safety deposit box;
  • Requesting an employer to withhold a large commission or bonus until after the divorce is final;
  • Undervaluing assets such as antique jewelry or unique artwork;
  • Hiding cash disguised as part of a business bank account;
  • Using business accounts/funds for personal expenses; and
  • Overpaying the IRS in order to receive a refund after the divorce is final.

How Are Hidden Assets Uncovered?

A forensic accountant is trained in discovering necessary financial information that could impact the division of assets, in addition to spousal support and child support. To thoroughly evaluate the situation, a forensic accountant will review credit card statements, property deeds, tax returns, investments, retirement accounts, and other important financial documents. Any unexplained or inappropriate behaviors will be recorded, investigated, and analyzed on your behalf. Common ways that hidden assets can be revealed include:

  • Looking for any inconsistencies in financial paperwork such as bank statements; 
  • Determining personal expenses and comparing to credit card bills;
  • Taking stock of valuables, such as art, antiques, collectibles;
  • Appraising necessary assets and properties; and
  • Assessing the long-term financial impact of the divorce settlement.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

A divorce tends to bring out the worst in people, especially if one spouse feels wronged and harbors resentment toward the spouse who left him or her. The bitter spouse may try different tactics to seek revenge, such as trying to stash away marital property for him or herself. The Law Offices of Benedict Schwarz, II P.C. has over five decades of experience in handling many types of divorce cases. If you believe your soon-to-be ex-partner is not being honest, our skilled Algonquin forensic accounting and hidden assets lawyers can help uncover finances your spouse may be hiding to make sure you receive your fair share of the marital assets. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-200-4882 today. 

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6000000&SeqEnd=8300000

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