The role of a forensic accountant in divorce proceedings

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Divorce cases can be emotional, complex and challenging, especially when it comes to financial matters. How do you value business interests that are involved in the divorce settlement? How do you ensure that you/your client get a fair share of the assets and income?  How are any hidden or undisclosed assets or income identified?

This is where Forensic accountants, and we at Pierce Forensic, can make a difference.

Forensic accountants are often instructed in divorce proceedings as a single joint expert, following the submission of Form E and before the Financial Dispute Resolution Hearing (“FDR Hearing”). In such cases, forensic accountants are independent of both parties and their duty is to the court.

While each instruction is unique, generally we are instructed to value the company(s) in question and provide details of liquidity and sustainable remuneration, which may be used as part of a divorce settlement.

A common instruction may look something like this:

  • Value the parties’ business interest in Company X and Company Y
  • Whether it will be possible for the parties to extract cash from any of the business interests in order to fund a financial settlement
  • Any tax implications there may be in relation to the parties’ ability to raise funds through any business interests, either by way of a sale of shares or by any other means
  • The capital gains tax that would arise upon any sale, disposition or transfer of the parties’ shares in the businesses
  • The reasonable and sustainable remuneration the parties can expect to receive from business interests in the foreseeable future

At times we are also asked to consider the source and destination of funds and identify, any transfers or transactions that may indicate concealment or dissipation of assets. While this exercise is limited to the availability of information, it is an increasing theme in matrimonial finance.

At Pierce Forensic we have over 30 years of experience in matrimonial finance/divorce proceedings and more in valuing businesses and business interests. Working in a general practice firm of accountants, we are able to draw on live company transactions and understand current market conditions and trends.

Our valuation reports are clear, concise, and based on a reasonable approach to valuing companies. 

If you would like to discuss an expert appointment in respect of matrimonial finance/divorce proceedings, please contact George Horley or Jeremy Rowe, directors of Pierce Forensic Limited, on 01254 688 100 or email [email protected] or [email protected]

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