This is a word version of an order that was filed in a highly complex divorce case in Bexar County in order to get detailed orders regarding the finances of the closely held business during the pending divorce. If you are needing to see how a court can order temporary orders regarding a business in a divorce case, this is a good template to review. This document appoints a forensic accountant and business valuation analyst to create a forensic analysis.
General Information About Forensic Accountants
In a complex divorce case where there are significant assets, business interests, or financial complexities, one or both parties may request the court to issue an order for a forensic accountant. A forensic accountant is a financial expert with specialized training and experience in investigating financial matters and providing expert analysis and testimony in legal proceedings.
Here’s what an order for a forensic accountant in a complex divorce case may entail:
- Identification of Complex Financial Issues: In a complex divorce, there may be intricate financial issues that need to be resolved, such as the valuation of businesses, hidden assets, complex investments, stock options, executive compensation packages, intellectual property, and more. The parties or their attorneys may request a forensic accountant to help identify and understand these financial complexities.
- Tracing and Characterization of Assets: Forensic accountants are skilled at tracing and characterizing assets to determine whether they are community property (subject to division) or separate property (belonging to one spouse). This process can be especially important when there are commingled or transmuted assets.
- Business Valuation: If one or both spouses own a business or have a significant ownership interest in a business, a forensic accountant can conduct a thorough business valuation. This involves analyzing financial statements, cash flow, assets, liabilities, market conditions, and other relevant factors to determine the business’s fair market value.
- Uncovering Hidden Assets: In some divorce cases, one spouse may attempt to hide assets to reduce the amount subject to division. A forensic accountant can use specialized techniques to uncover hidden assets and ensure that all assets are accounted for and fairly distributed.
- Income Analysis: In cases where one spouse’s income is complex or not easily verifiable, a forensic accountant can analyze income sources, bonuses, deferred compensation, and other financial records to determine an accurate picture of the spouse’s income for purposes of child support and alimony calculations.
- Expert Testimony: If the case goes to trial, the forensic accountant may provide expert testimony to explain complex financial matters to the court and help the judge make informed decisions.
- Settlement Negotiations: A forensic accountant’s analysis and reports can be valuable during settlement negotiations, as they provide an objective evaluation of the financial situation, helping both parties and their attorneys to negotiate from an informed standpoint.
It’s important to note that hiring a forensic accountant can be a costly endeavor due to the complexity and time-intensive nature of their work. However, in high-stakes divorce cases with substantial financial assets and potential hidden assets, the expertise of a forensic accountant can be crucial to ensuring a fair and equitable division of property and support obligations.
As with any financial expert, it’s essential for the parties involved to ensure that the forensic accountant they hire is experienced, qualified, and impartial in their analysis. The court will typically expect a forensic accountant’s work to meet the standards of admissibility and reliability required in legal proceedings.