When The Wealthy Divorce, They Regularly Engage Forensic Accountants

Posted by David Cadorett.

There are many reasons that a business might hire a forensic accountant; however, one may hire a forensic accountant if they are a wealthy married couple in the process of a divorce. The spouse with less income would be most likely to hire the accountant to make sure their significant other is not hiding any assets. Partners in business that no longer trust each other may also be inclined to hire a forensic accountant.

“According to James DiGabriele, professor of accounting at Montclair State University, one of the foremost forensic accounting programs in the country, “It’s impossible to appropriately divide marital assets if everyone doesn’t know just what those assets are and what they’re worth. High-net-worth couples generally have a number of types of assets such as investment portfolios, businesses, collectables, partnerships, and the list goes on. Divorce lawyers are not the professionals that are going to be able to determine the value of all the different assets. That’s the job of the forensic accountant.” This quote from the article states how lawyers are not properly equipped to find these types of assets, which is what Professor DiGabriele is trying to show.

With wealthy divorces, there are large amounts of money that need to be accounted for when dividing assets equally. This process is not easy and requires a team of professionals that have a large amount of experience in this area. The skill set of a forensic accountant works hand in hand with lawyers that are involved with divorce cases. The forensic accountant needs to be unbiased when making his evaluation in the division of the assets. If the judge feels that bias has persuaded the evaluation to go a certain way, the accountants’ credibility will be tarnished, and possibly forced out of the profession.

David is a graduate student in accounting with a certificate in forensic accounting at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.