Most people seek CPAs or accountants only around the tax season. But hiring a good accountant can be just as important to your divorce in Virginia as finding a good divorce lawyer. Here are three instances in which you will want to hire an accountant in your Virginia divorce.
You Think (or Know) That Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets
Your spouse may be very savvy at investing money in multiple accounts, moving money in and out of the accounts so frequently that you can’t keep track of it, or hiding money in accounts you know nothing about. If you sense that the money’s not adding up or that your spouse has accounts you are unaware of, an accountant can help you. A good forensic accountant will be able to trace you and your spouse’s assets, conduct financial audits and find fraudulent or sneaky activity.
You and/or Your Spouse Own a Business
Valuating a business is one of the most difficult tasks in a divorce. Cash flow, accounts receivable, inventory, and goodwill are all factors that go into determining how much you or your spouse’s business is worth. However, failure to appropriately value you or your spouse’s business will be extremely detrimental for you and can significantly reduce the amount of money and/or property you receive in your divorce.
Typically, an owner who wishes to sell their business wants to make the value of their business seem as high as possible. But in a divorce, your spouse may try to make the value of his or her business appear as low as possible to avoid paying you a lot of money. An accountant trained in valuating businesses will be able to detect if your spouse is devaluing their business by hiding assets, fixing books to make the cash flow seem low or depreciating goodwill.
Proving Your Contributions to Marital and Hybrid Property
In Virginia, a court determines whether your and your spouse’s property at divorce is separate, marital or hybrid. In determining marital and hybrid property, you can receive the benefit of your contributions that can be classified as separate and non-marital. However, you will need to specifically trace the amount of your non-marital contribution in order to receive credit for it. This can be a difficult and daunting task.
For example, suppose you owned a business prior to getting married but continued to make contributions to the company during your marriage. The business will be considered partially separate and partially marital property – a hybrid property. At the time of divorce, you will have to trace your separate contributions in order to receive credit for your non-marital share.
Now assume that during your marriage, you made a withdrawal from the business account, placed it into a joint account owned by you and your spouse, added other money into the joint account (or your spouse did), and then you and your spouse used some of the money to purchase a piece of real estate titled in both you and your spouse’s names. In all likelihood, the jointly-titled real property you purchased will be considered marital property. When the property gets divided in divorce, you will be required to prove your separate contribution to the real estate in order to obtain credit for a separate ownership interest. An accountant will be able to trace your contribution and follow the money trail(s).
Hire a Good Divorce Attorney
Dividing property is one of the major yet most complicated issues you will need to resolve in your divorce. This is especially true if you find yourself in any of the above scenarios. Finding a good divorce attorney who knows when and how to hire the right accountant in your case can make the difference between exiting your marriage in dire straits or wealthy circumstances. If you are currently going through a dissolution of marriage action or are considering divorce, the experienced divorce attorneys at DiPietro Law Group will fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (888) 530-4374 for a consultation.