If you and your soon-to-be former spouse have accumulated substantial assets during your marriage, you probably already know that Oregon law requires the two of you to split these marital assets in a fair and equitable manner when you divorce. What you may not know, however, is that marital asset hiding on the part of selfish, angry and vindictive well-to-do spouses is not all that uncommon. This is true even though it represents a form of illegal financial fraud.
Unfortunately, if your spouse is so inclined, today’s technology, especially the ready availability of digital accounts and storage, makes marital asset hiding easier now than ever before. So how do you go about finding these assets if you suspect that your spouse is trying to hide them from you? The answer is to bring this possibility to the attention of your attorney as early as possible in your divorce proceedings. You and he or she may wish to add a forensic accountant to your legal team.
What a forensic accountant can do
FindLaw explains that not all accountants have the same qualifications and abilities. Unlike most CPAs and general accountants, forensic accounts have specialized education and training that allows them to do the following:
- Conduct a thorough investigation of your spouse’s financial dealings for the purpose of using the information in court
- Ferret out and track various types of electronic assets
- Find discrepancies in your spouse’s complex documents pertaining to business interests, real estate interests and taxes and track these to hidden assets
- Advise you of the tax ramifications of accepting any property settlement your spouse proposes
In addition, and perhaps most importantly, a good forensic accountant is also a good communicator who can explain difficult and complex concepts and figures to you and other lay people. This ability can make the crucial difference in the outcome of your divorce trial. at which your forensic accountant likely will serve as your star expert witness.