Last month, two students at Central Michigan University and their professor were commended by a local law enforcement agency for their help in cracking a case of suspected embezzlement. As undergraduates in CMU’s accounting program, the students utilized what is known as forensic accounting to analyze financial records and to identify shortfalls, indicating that embezzlement was not only possible, but probable. While forensic accounting is certainly very valuable in the investigation of white-collar crime, it can play a significant role in divorce cases, as well, particularly in complex financial situations where hidden assets could be an issue.
The Issues of Hidden Assets
In any divorce situation, the law in Illinois requires the marital estate to be divided equitably between the divorcing spouses. The first step in doing so is to identify all of the couple’s marital assets, which could be nearly impossible if both spouses are not completely forthcoming about their finances. All too often, one spouse will attempt to hide assets or revenue streams from his or her spouse in the hope that they will not be affected by the divorce process. Hiding assets can be especially tempting in situations where one spouse has almost full control over the household finances or in which business ownership can provide a level of cover for secretive behavior.
The Role of Forensic Accounting
A forensic accountant is, as you might expect, an accountant who is particularly adept at identifying inconsistencies in financial records. Through careful analysis of revenue, cash flow, expenditures, and tax liabilities, he or she will often be able to find holes in a deceptive spouse’s claims, and demand explanations for missing or unexplained extra money.
Depending upon the circumstances of your marriage and divorce, you may want to consider adding a professional trained in forensic accounting to your divorce team. Hiring a forensic accountant can be critical if you fear that your spouse is using his or her business interests to unduly keep assets out of the property division process. While you and your attorney may be able to sort through normal, household financial and investment records relatively easily, business interests are often much more complex, with ample opportunity for hiding money or sources of revenue. The help of a dedicated professional, in such situations, can be all the more important.
Reliable Legal Representation
At Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., we understand the importance of building a comprehensive divorce team to assist you in achieving the equitable divorce outcome you deserve. Contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney for more information. We will work with you to find hidden assets and property, and will advocate on your behalf at every stage in the process. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule your introductory consultation today.