California is a "community property" state. This means that in the event of a divorce, each spouse is entitled to half of the marital assets, the assets accumulated during the course of the marriage with a few exceptions, such as gifts and an inheritance.
Considering how much a wealthy spouse stands to lose in a divorce, it's no wonder why wealthy couples are engaging forensic accountants. Often, when a wealthy spouse hires a forensic accountant, it's to take a closer look into:
- Investment portfolios
- Real estate
- Retirement plans
- Life insurance
For an ultra-wealthy couple, it's impossible to appropriately divide the marital assets, or know what they're worth without a forensic accountant. Divorce lawyers are not the ones that determine the value of all of the different assets held by the couple; that's what a forensic accountant is for.
When it comes to assets held in partnerships and trusts, or located in different states, getting a proper valuation is complicated and requires the expertise of a qualified accountant.
When Spouses Play Dirty
Another issue is when spouses play dirty and hide a portion of the marital assets so they don't have to share. This can get especially complicated when the spouse privately owns a business. Business owners have been known to create fake debt, dummy corporations, or pad the payroll to conceal assets from their spouse.
Additionally, it can be difficult to determine a spouse's true income. Spouses often use tactics to report less income than what they're really earning. That's where the forensic accountant comes in.
The forensic accountant can dig into bank accounts, tax returns, investment portfolios, etc. to determine the real value of the assets and the spouse's actual income.
The best way to ensure a fair divorce settlement is to hire a high-caliber divorce team, which often includes a forensic accountant. Contact our Los Angeles divorce attorneys today!