Divorce by its nature is an emotional process, but when you look at its basic elements, it’s technically about the process of dividing a couple’s assets and debts. For some couples, the process is simple and free of complexities: the house, automobiles, credit cards, bank accounts, and retirement accounts.
In these cases, the couple may decide how to split the furniture, the wedding china, the flat-screen TVs and laptops, and other less-valuable items without too much contention, based on who bought the items before the marriage, or who cared more about owning them after the divorce.
However, it’s not always so easy. High-net-worth individuals or couples with complex financial portfolios inherently face more challenging divorces.
High-Asset Divorces Are Complicated
Even when a high-asset divorce is amicable, certain types of assets can be difficult to divide. The couple may have real estate, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, etc. They are also more likely to have stock options and restricted stock, deferred compensation, businesses, multiple investment properties in different states or countries, professional practices, partnerships, and assets held in trusts.
All of these assets considered, a complex settlement agreement with vague wording can cause trouble down the road. When it comes to valuable assets, this is not something that spouses should leave to chance.
Should You Consider a Forensic Accountant?
If you have a complicated divorce due to the sheer volume of diverse marital assets, you may benefit from adding a forensic accountant to your divorce team. Not only can he or she explain the tax implications of your various settlement options, he or she can help you work through the different financial angles affecting to your settlement choices. Also, if you’re concerned about fraud or hidden assets, his or her financial expertise will be critical.