Why would you need a forensic accountant?

You finally get access to your ex-spouse’s financial disclosure and it is all over the place with plenty of missing paperwork. The value of the family business seems extremely low. You can’t put your finger on it but your instinct is telling you that assets have been hidden…you need a forensic accountant in your divorce team.

Divorce cases often centre on the division of marital assets and debts; some are relatively simple to divide, others are more complicated. To be certain of a fair settlement, all assets must be uncovered and quantified. This is where the expertise of a forensic accountant comes in.

Unusually for a family law firm, Stowe Family Law has an in-house team of forensic accountants. They can access information, analyse it immediately and advise our solicitors where to concentrate their efforts when working on your case. This means we do not have to use up precious time dealing with other firms of accountants when such expertise are required for financial issues. Instead, our highly-experienced team can provide immediate advice about the likely scale and nature of a case. They can also raise questions when important financial information is missing and help trace hidden assets.

What does a forensic accountant do?

  • Trace the paper-trail of funds through the family accounts
  • Determine the actual income of the family
  • Uncover hidden assets including those offshore
  • Disprove under valuation 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 ‘illiquid’

How can they help your divorce case?

If you believe your ex is hiding assets, stalling with information, the business or asset valuations seem low or the declared income does not match the lifestyle, forensic accountants can help. Think of it as really good financial detective work.

Our team will help you get:

  • A true picture of the finance and assets
  • An accurate value of these finances and assets
  • The discovery of any hidden assets
  • And most importantly peace of mind that you’ll get a fairer settlement as the true value of the martial assets will be known.

Full disclosure

Sometimes, one party may be reluctant to provide a full disclosure of their assets as they do not wish some of them to be divided. Similarly, they may attempt to undervalue some of their holdings.

With a forensic accountant as an advisor, however, our client can be given a swift measured opinion. This is particularly pertinent when we have to consider a freezing order against a client’s spouse, or in other cases when time is a critical factor. They can also investigate the accuracy of the information provided by the other party – particularly when there are businesses or offshore interests.

Business valuations

Our forensic accountancy team can also provide advice about the likely value of a client’s business for the purpose of a divorce. This is very useful because business values may be artificially inflated or deflated by the client, for a variety of reasons. They can also let you know the likely income that can be taken from the business and the extent to which it can be used to provide funds to assist with a settlement. The team also provide valuable assistance with financial settlement-related tax issues.

Fraud is very rare in divorce cases but it does happen. Make sure you protect yourself and your family to ensure your financial stability with the help of our team.

Our forensic accountants, Nick White and Suzanne Grant, have more than 50 years’ combined experience within this highly specialist field. A fully integrated in-house team, rare for a family law firm, they are part of your divorce team, if and when you need them.

Your team in this field

Nick White
Nick White is a Forensic Accountant, he has a national remit and provides input and assis...
Forensic Accountant
Suzanne Grant
Suzanne is a forensic accountant who is based in our Harrogate office but has a national r...
Forensic Accountant
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