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Forensic accountants as ‘CPA sleuths’ in divorce cases

Virtually everyone loves detective stories.

From “The Rockford Files” in the 1970s on through “Murder, She Wrote” and other more recent iterations of the genre, such shows have long been widely popular.

To be sure, there has never been a TV series called “CPA Sleuth.” But it is not difficult to imagine that there could be.

In this post, we will discuss the role of forensic accountants – CPA sleuths – in divorce cases.

Forensic accountants are accountants who seek to uncover money or other assets that may have been hidden or even deliberately stolen. They do this work in various contexts, including business disputes and white-collar crime investigations.

For our purposes in this divorce blog, the forensic accounting work at issue occurs in property division settings. In some cases, a divorcing party or his or her attorney may become concerned that the other party has not been transparent about the family finances.

This does not necessarily mean there is reason to suspect that a wayward spouse has opened up a Swiss bank account with marital assets.

But there are many conceivable scenarios where one spouse may be tempted to take advantage of the other financially. This is especially a risk, of course, when one spouse handles the couple’s common finances and the other spouse plays a passive role.

In such cases, a forensic accountant can crunch the numbers, follow the money trail and determine what happened. And the results of that inquiry will have clear implications for marital property division and the overall financial resolution of the divorce case.

Source: accountingweb, “Demand for ‘CPA Sleuths” on the Rise,” Deanna C. White, Dec. 23, 2013