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Law Offices of John A. Guthrie - Family Law Attorney

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High-stakes divorces and forensic accounting

Wealthy California couples who are going through a divorce often rely heavily on the services provided by forensic accountants. Typically, these financial specialists are brought into the picture to manage commercial interests. When the actions or motives of business partners are unclear, forensic accountants may be of use. However, there are reasons why they are becoming increasingly used when marriages are coming to an end.

The more complex a couple’s financial picture is, the more difficult it might be to divide the marital assets appropriately. High-net worth marriages typically involve a number of assets that may include businesses, partnerships, collectibles and investment portfolios. When the valuation of these assets extends beyond the scope of a divorce lawyer, a forensic accountant may be able to help. Evaluating marital assets becomes more difficult when one or both spouses have deferred compensation arrangements, life insurance policies or retirement plans.

Forensic accountants may also be useful if one of the spouses attempts to conceal marital assets from the other. The situation can be even more complicated when there are private businesses. Many business owners will attempt to claim a lower amount of income.

Regardless of a couple’s worth, one of the most difficult issues when a marriage is coming to an end is property division. In addition to problems regarding what value should be placed upon a particular asset or those regarding hidden ones, there are often questions as to whether a particular piece of property should be considered a marital asset as opposed to one that is separately owned. An attorney who has experience in family law matters can often assist a divorcing client in negotiating a settlement agreement that addresses these issues.


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