When to Hire a Forensic Accountant in a New Jersey Divorce

At Lyons & Associates, we specialize in all aspects of family law, and we often work with forensic accountants.

When people think of the word “forensic,” they usually think of crime scenes and TV shows like NCIS or Dexter. However, “forensic” can be applied to financial documents too – and the professionals who do so are known as forensic accountants.

Forensic accountants are trained professionals who apply scientific principles to an investigation of financial facts. They might be used in a divorce case:

  • By a spouse who has no access to or control over financial information about the marriage
  • By one spouse who suspects the other of hiding assets
  • By one spouse who believes the other is providing false information about his or her standard of living
  • By one spouse who co-owns a closely held business either with their family or with a friend.
  • Involving multiple inheritances, a complicated mix of personal and marital assets or other complex marital financial situations

If you and your spouse both have complete and accurate information about your finances, and if you generally agree about the disposition of your joint assets and debts, then it is probably unnecessary to add a forensic accountant to your arsenal. However, if you anticipate a fight over money, and especially if your spouse controlled the purse strings, then a forensic accountant can provide useful facts for your attorney to use to get a fair marital settlement on your behalf.

Here is a very practical example of how a forensic accountant may be able to uncover important information. As she begins the divorce process, Mary hires a forensic accountant to investigate her spouse, John. As a result of a public records search, the forensic accountant discovers that John has been making utility payments at an unknown address. It turns out that John brought property during their marriage without telling Mary. Under New Jersey property division laws, Mary may have a legal right to some portion of the equity in this property, which could have remained undiscovered without the forensic accountant’s help.

Another example of when a forensic accountant could be helpful is when a spouse owns a business and uses the business to hide or pay for many personal expenses. A good forensic accountant can determine the spouse’s true income and cash flow and can also help establish a fair business price for the company.

Questions About Using a Forensic Accountant? Contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates

At Lyons & Associates, we bring a high level of personalized service and attention to each of our clients, in every family law case we handle. To schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at 908-575-9777.