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What does a forensic accountant do?

When the financial aspects of a divorce become complicated, a forensic or divorce accountant can get to the bottom of any discrepancies. Our specialist team achieve this in various ways, depending on your individual circumstances.

As part of our forensic account services, our team review both business and personal finances and can:

  • Trace the paper trail of funds through the family accounts
  • Determine the actual income of the family
  • Uncover hidden assets, including those offshore
  • Disprove undervaluation of businesses and assets, including property and land
  • Consider the mismatch of lifestyle with declared income
  • Identify non-disclosed business interests here and in the UK
  • Analyse how much of the martial pot relates to pre- and post-marriage periods
  • Help to identify how to fund settlements where the assets are ‘liquid’

Full and frank disclosure is essential to reaching a fair settlement. Being open about your finances and allowing scrutiny where necessary increases trust and makes a mutually-beneficial, quicker and cheaper settlement easier to reach.

Why choose Stowe Family Law’s forensic accounting services?

  • As well as providing a team of over 80 highly specialised divorce lawyers, we also have a dedicated, in-house team of forensic accountants to help you get clarity on any complicated aspects of your finances.
  • We offer an empathetic and tailored service to each individual as we know that every divorce and family situation is unique.
  • We avoid complex legal jargon and ensure you understand the process, each step of the way.
  • As part of Stowe Family Law, our forensic accountant team are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). We’re also ranked by The Legal 500.
  • We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot by hundreds of previous clients.
  • We’ve been shortlisted for multiple awards and are highly ranked by leading professional accreditation companies.
  • We provide a range of resources to assist you through divorce and family issues, helping you feel supported throughout the process.

Forensic accounting FAQs


Forensic accounting FAQs


  • What financial aspects can be investigated by forensic accountants?

    Various financial records and assets can be uncovered by our forensic accounting team. These might include family bank accounts, business interests, property, pensions and other assets, including cryptocurrencies. Forensic divorce accountants seek to uncover any discrepancies over financial assets and provide a clear picture of a family’s income and assets, to ensure a fair settlement.

    Forensic accountants are often instructed in divorce proceedings where one party has more financial control than the other. For example, one spouse might have been in charge of the family’s finances, dealing with income, outgoings and all other financial assets. In cases like this, it’s important to gain transparency to be able to settle a divorce in the fairest possible way

  • How does a forensic accountant uncover financial discrepancies?

    A forensic divorce accountant uses skills such as auditing, investigating and financial management to provide a clear report of a family’s assets. This could involve analysing bank accounts, reports, transactions, spending habits, tax records and tracing any hidden assets. The financial investigation involved in such cases is thorough and often complex.

    Due to the complexities of such investigations, it’s advisable to seek support as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome from the divorce.

  • Can forensic accountants be used during the separation of cohabiting couples?

    Cohabiting is becoming increasingly common, with the amount of cohabiting couples having risen significantly since 2011, especially across younger age groups. But cohabiting couples do not have the same legal rights as those who are married; for example, the right to inherit a partner’s assets, pension or property.

    There is no law that provides guidance on financial matters should a couple in this situation separate, so forensic divorce accountants would not be called upon by a cohabiting partner.

  • Can a spouse be prevented from hiding or selling assets during a divorce?

    If a marriage ends in hostile or disharmonious circumstances, then one spouse could try to prevent the other party from gaining access to certain assets. This can be the case especially in high-net-worth divorce situations. A spouse might try to sell off assets, hide particular finances or spend a large proportion of funds to reduce what their ex-partner might be entitled to.

    In these situations, a forensic accountant can work to uncover any hidden assets or unusual expenditure. In some circumstances, a freezing order might be granted by the Court to protect any relevant assets and ensure that they can’t be sold or given away.

  • Who decides how assets are split during a divorce?

    If a couple can’t amicably decide how to divide up their assets, then the Court will order a settlement that’s deemed fair to both parties. Multiple factors will be taken into consideration including any dependent children, the family’s income, financial needs and responsibilities and the standard of living during the marriage.

    Every divorce is different and circumstances are unique to the particular couple so there’s no specific law that states how exactly assets should be divided upon separation.

  • How much does it cost for forensic accounting services?

    Because the investigative work carried out by our forensic divorce accounting team varies depending on each unique situation, there is no one set cost. Our forensic accountants will discuss your options and circumstances with you and provide an estimate of likely costs, depending on the work involved to ensure transparency.

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0330 056 3171

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Liza is based in our Winchester & Southampton offices and is experienced in divorce, financial matters, and legal issues issues involving children.

Date last reviewed: 05/06/2024


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