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How forensic accountants can be helpful

New Jersey residents who are contemplating a divorce or already embarked upon the process will need an accurate accounting of their financial affairs in order to divide the marital property fairly. The services of a forensic accountant could be helpful in such an endeavor.

In New Jersey, all property and debt acquired during the marriage is considered eligible for property distribution, and it will be divided fairly between the spouses. This is not always a straightforward process, as there are types of property with variable or unknowable monetary worth. Assets such as stock options or retirement accounts must be assessed fairly in order to ensure an equitable distribution.

Some spouses engage in unethical practices while attempting to control the property distribution. Their dishonest behavior may predate the dissolution of marriage as well, making a pattern harder to detect. Fortunately, forensic accountants have the skills and ability to discover hidden accounts, under-reported income and transfers to dummy corporations. It is also possible for a departing spouse who owns a business and wishes to conceal assets to use their enterprise for that purpose. For example, they might pad payrolls or purchase high-value items with money that was never reported. This behavior is especially simple for professionals who deal in cash. If they have been doing this for some time, then the concealment may be all the greater. Forensic accountants have been trained to detect all such unethical practices and follow the money to where it really went.

Once the realistic accounting of the couple's marital property has been completed, the property division phase of the divorce may begin on a solid footing. The guidance of a lawyer can be helpful to anyone going through a divorce, but they could particularly useful to those who are dealing with an angry or deceptive spouse.

Source: Forbes, "Why A Forensic Accountant Belongs On Your Divorce Team", Jeff Landers, September 04, 2014

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