California is known as a community property state in divorce proceedings. Coming to a settlement, or litigating property division issue, may involve technical evaluations of a variety of factors. Some cases may involve a single family home and one or two late model vehicles. In others, there may be various properties, possibly a business (or more than one family business)—and, what about potential hidden assets?
Financial issues can be involved in more than the discussions surrounding property division. Spousal support and child support issues may be impacted by financial information in the household budget and lifestyle. In some cases a forensic accountant may be a valuable asset in building a case in a divorce proceeding.
Forensic accountants may review financial data seeking to detect hidden assets, as well as review other aspects of the financial structure of a household where people are heading to family court. In some cases, lawyers from each side may bring in financial professionals, such as an accountant, to help protect rights in family court.
The issues may be varied in an individual case. Reviewing tax information may be necessary if substantial returns, or liabilities, are involved in a joint tax return. These issues can help in determining the overall status of the financial picture.
It may be beneficial to have a forensic accountant evaluate financial records in determining what assets actually exist. But, the financial picture may show that some assets should not be included in the marital estate under California law.
Aside from the property settlement issues, financials may be relevant for such issues as alimony or child support in some cases.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Voices: Richard Feldstein, on Advising the ‘Out Spouse’ in a Wealthy Divorce ,” Richard Feldstein, Jan. 16, 2014