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Forensic Accountancy for Divorce
Confused or suspicious about the extent of your spouse or civil partner’s assets? Suspect that they are hiding assets from you? Financial proceedings upon divorce or dissolution can quickly turn bitter, particularly where there are high value assets, High Net Worth individuals, businesses and international aspects involved. For those complex and contentious financial matters, a forensic accountant could be the solution.
At Crisp & Co Solicitors, our team of family law solicitors specialise in providing advice on the legal aspects of complex financial matters upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution. We offer a premium service tailored specifically to suit the needs and expectations of high earning individuals and their families.
If required, this includes an in-house forensic accountancy team or who will work with you to get a true picture and accurate value of the finances and assets of the marriage, and the discovery of any hidden assets and undervaluation’s if needed.
This dedicated team works alongside our lawyers, ensuring that we can quickly provide accurate advice and insight without waiting for the work to be outsourced.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation scheme which is only awarded for expertise in specialist areas of family law, including international issues and cases involving complex assets.
Forensic Accountancy FAQs
What is a forensic accountant?
Forensic accountants review personal and business finances and investigate financial discrepancies and hidden assets for the purpose of court proceedings.
They can be useful in divorce and dissolution proceedings by helping individuals uncover hidden assets and unstated income early on in financial proceedings.
How can a forensic accountant help with your divorce?
Relationship breakdown is a difficult and highly emotive subject for everyone involved. But when financial disputes arise, the proceedings can become particularly prolonged and stressful.
Where a couple’s finances are particularly complex, involving a broad portfolio of assets and investments, they may simply disagree about the estimated value of their wealth.
However, it is also common for one of the partners to try to hide or dispose of assets to prevent them from becoming part of the proceedings. For example, where one partner:
- Primarily manages the couple’s money making it easy for them to conceal assets
- Owns a successful business that they want to avoid becoming part of the divorce proceedings
- Has a significantly higher income and wants to avoid paying spousal or child maintenance
Divorce law states that couples must be completely open and honest about their finances and the division upon divorce or dissolution must be fair to both parties. Only in certain circumstances can assets be left out of the financial proceedings, for example, if specific assets were acquired by one of the partners before they got married or entered into a civil partnership.
A forensic accountant can play a vital part of divorce and dissolution proceedings, including where there are concerns about hidden assets, understated income and fraud.
The role of the forensic accountant is to calculate the estimated value of hidden assets so that they can be taken into account during divorce financial proceedings. Taking this step now could save you a lot of time, stress and money by avoiding a scenario where you have to re-open financial proceedings later on.
What does a forensic accountant do?
- Follows paper trails to trace assets through accounts
- Uncovers hidden assets, including off shore assets
- Accurately estimates the value of businesses
- Analyses which assets pre-date the marriage or civil partnership
- Assists with funding settlements where assets are illiquid
How our divorce solicitors can help
Going through a divorce or dissolution is hard enough without disagreements about wealth and finances. Our highly skilled divorce solicitors regularly deal with divorce cases involving complex finances, businesses, international issues and high value assets.
We will provide advice about whether you could benefit from a forensic accountant to help you strengthen your negotiating position and provide evidence for any financial claims.
With our expertise on your side, you won’t need to worry about your former partner successfully concealing assets to which you have a claim. We will work closely with your forensic accountant to locate assets and get an accurate picture of your matrimonial finances. We can then use this information during negotiations with your former partner or in support of any financial claims in court.
Where your forensic accountant has obtained evidence that your former partner is hiding assets or intends to dispose of assets to prevent them from becoming part of the divorce proceedings, we can provide advice on the steps you can take to resolve the matter, including:
- Engaging your former partner in settlement discussions
- Provide advice about using collaborative law to negotiate divorce financial settlements
- Help you obtain a Freezing Order or Injunction to prevent your former partner from transferring or disposing of assets
- Apply to court for a range of Financial Orders
Our team includes collaborative family law specialists who have considerable experience helping individuals find constructive resolutions to divorce and dissolution issues without resorting to lengthy and stressful court proceedings.
The process involves attending a series of round-table meetings with your former partner and your respective collaborative lawyers to negotiate a financial settlement. Your collaborative lawyer will be specifically trained to represent your interests during this type of meeting and can liaise with your former partner and their lawyer on your behalf. You can also invite other professionals, such as your forensic accountant, to give their expert advice and support your financial claims.
For more information, visit our Collaborative Family Law page.
Freezing Orders and Injunctions
We can help you obtain a Freezing Order (also known as an Injunction) to prevent your former partner from transferring or disposing of assets during the divorce financial proceedings.
Your former partner may try to hide assets in many ways, for example by:
- Selling property
- Moving assets overseas
- Mortgaging property
- Spending savings
- Making assets illiquid
- Putting money and property into trust
- Giving belongings away to family and friends for ‘safekeeping’
A Freezing Order can affect all types of assets, both in the UK and overseas, including bank accounts, property, shares, cars and belongings such as jewellery.
For further information, please visit our Freezing Orders and Injunctions page.
Financial Orders and court proceedings
The court is able to make far-reaching Financial Orders during court proceedings, including ordering assets to be transferred or sold, ordering spousal maintenance and generally deciding how assets should be split between the separating couple. To make their decision, the judge is required to take into account a number of factors, such as the couple’s ages and duration of the marriage, their needs, and the needs of any children.
The final split must be ‘fair’ to both parties. This allows the court to take steps to prevent your former spouse from hiding assets, blocking the sale and transfer of assets and even recovering assets that they have transferred out of their ownership.
As well as Freezing Orders and Injunctions, we can provide advice on the wide range of Financial Orders you can seek from the court in relation to your divorce or civil partnership dissolution, including Enforcement Orders (which we can help you apply for if your former partner fails to comply with the terms of the Financial Order).
Why choose Crisp & Co’s divorce lawyers?
Crisp & Co is a dedicated family law firm who specialise in complex divorce and dissolution matters.
Amongst our team, our Senior Partner, Henry Crisp has nearly 30 years’ experience handling financial issues in divorce and civil partnership dissolution cases. Henry and Partner, Carol Christofi, are both trained collaborative lawyers who dedicate themselves to helping individuals and families find constructive resolutions to family law issues out of court wherever possible.
We also have a dedicated in-house forensic accountancy team who have deep expertise within this highly specialist field and are on hand as part of your divorce team if and when you need them.
We are members of the Law Society Family Law Advanced Accreditation scheme for our ability to handle high value family law matters and matters involving complex aspects such as businesses, trusts, multiple properties and international assets, and the Law Society Lexcel Accreditation scheme for our high standards of client care and legal practice management.