When is it a good idea to have a forensic accountant in divorce? That's a question I get asked a lot. Generally speaking, there are three typical scenarios under which you might need a forensic forensic accountant to help you out. First of all, if you think your spouse is hiding money in some way, that's a pretty good sign that you need a forensic accountant to go in and look at the checks that have been written. If anybody writes checks these days, to look at the payments that have been made, to look at the credit cards have been used, to look and see if wire transfers have gone out and things of that nature.
The second scenario is if you have or your spouse has a small family business or a large family business, for that matter, you may need a forensic accountant to do evaluation on that business. And that's a very common area in which we hire accountants. The third situation in which you might need an accountant, a forensic accountant to work on your case is a situation in which either you or more typically, your spouse is alleging separate property. And it's a situation in which that separate property is financial in nature, such as bank accounts, stock accounts, various kinds of securities accounts. Because what happens and it's kind of a technical situation.
You can imagine how complicated this might get. If somebody had some stocks and bonds before marriage, those are their separate property. But if those stocks and bonds pay dividends or interest income from separate property, that's earned during marriage is actually community, and it all gets commingled in the account, the only way to really separate that out is to have an accountant examine each and every statement. But with a very large account, it's worth it to hire that forensic accountant to establish the separate nature or it's if you're on the other side of it, to hire the forensic accountant to refute those claims of separate property.