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Sometimes in more complicated Florida divorce cases, a forensic accountant may be necessary to get a handle on financial issues. Those issues may include the parties' assets and income, and expenses, liabilities and debts. The attorney for a party must of course have an understanding of the economic condition of the parties so as to adequately deal with alimony, child support and property distribution issues. But an accountant is sometimes better equipped to investigate these issues and work with the attorney to properly present them. And it may be more cost effective to have the accountant do the financial investigation and in depth audit which some cases require.
Accountants may be able to find hidden assets and income. (or assets and income which are hard to find, although not necessarily intentionally hidden) They can also prepare, based on their investigation, a proposal for a fair distribution of assets between the parties. Part of their job may include determining the value of assets, such as business assets. Another area for the accountant may be to assist a party in properly presenting their financial materials and condition as required by the Florida divorce court rules. They can also develop strategies to preserve the value of assets and minimize taxes.
With regard to alimony and child support, one of the more important tasks of the accountant may be to determine the true income of a party, and their ability to pay support. (and assess a party's need for spousal support) Also, because child support is a statutory formula, the accountant can assist the attorney in making the proper calculation. While it may seem like a simple matter to determine income, assets and debts and liabilities, sometimes it is not so simple. Poor (or intentionally poor) record keeping can make the investigation difficult. Inventory sometimes must be taken to determine the full list of the parties' assets.
Valuation of assets is sometimes a challenge and subject to debate. (for example valuing a business or a unique item may be difficult. Sometimes other experts must be called in for their opinion) And income is not always easy to determine, especially for people who are self employed. Income can be hidden or miscalculated, intentionally or not. The true profit of a business may be subject to debate, especially if claimed expenses are not business related. Additionally, debt must be adequately determined so that it may be fairly distributed between the parties, and considered when assessing the net value of assets.
In many cases a forensic accountant is not needed in a Florida Divorce. But there are often situations where their services are needed to determine the actual financial condition of the parties.