The Role of a Forensic Accountant in Your Monmouth County Divorce

Monmouth County Divorce Lawyers Secrets to the Divorce ProcessDivision of Assets in a Monmouth County Divorce

In a New Jersey Divorce, assets are divided using the equitable distribution analysis.  Equitable distribution means that the property of the marriage will be split “equitably,” meaning fairly.  This may or may not result in a 50/50 split.  The analysis begins with the identification of marital property.   All property is presumed to be marital property, but this is a rebuttable presumption.   Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage is separate property when the marriage ends, but the burden of proving immunity from equitable distribution rests on the spouse asserting the immunity.  Immunity can be demonstrated by showing title (where the date of acquisition precedes the marriage) or through an account showing when the property was purchased and what funds paid for it.

Once marital property is identified, it is valued. Finally, it is divided equitably between the parties.  It is not necessary for a party to have contributed money to the purchase of the asset to be entitled to equitable division of an asset.  The unpaid efforts of making a home, raising children, and such, are as important to the court when assessing equitable distribution as the act of working and paying for the marital property.

Fault and Equitable Distribution in Your Monmouth County Divorce

Fault is generally not considered in determining equitable distribution.  For instance, if one party commits adultery, the court will not punish the wrongdoer by awarding a greater percentage of property to the “innocent” party.  However, if the party carrying on the affair uses marital assets to commit adultery, the court will look at the money spent and will calculate it into the money allotted to the “innocent” party in equitable distribution.  The court is not focused on fault alone, but fault coupled with financial dissipation.  A forensic accountant can examine the credit card statements and bank records of the cheating spouse to determine whether marital funds were used to finance the affair.  Hotel, air travel, car rental charges, jewelry purchases and other expenditures can then be credited to the wronged spouse.

The Role of the Forensic Accountant in Your Monmouth County Divorce

A forensic accountant may be necessary in a variety of situations.  The accountant can look at tax returns, bank records, business accounts and various financial documents to determine whether one party is hiding or undervaluing assets.  But the accountant can also be helpful to parties in an amicable divorce who need assistance in calculating alimony based upon the marital lifestyle, or who aren’t sure what to do with a jointly owned business.

The forensic accountant tends to be more beneficial to the party who was earning less during the marriage, as he or she may have been responsible for fewer bills, and would therefore be less informed of the true financial status of the marriage.  Parties with significant income often have discretionary cash.  Such cash can be deposited in a separate account (rather than the marital account), used to purchase property, or invested.  While the party with greater income may not have intended to hide assets during the marriage, once divorce is on the table, disclosing these accounts and assets may not seem an attractive option.

The Family Attorneys of Villani & DeLuca

At Villani & DeLuca, our Monmouth County Divorce lawyers work with financial consultants to ensure the court has an accurate picture of the financial health of the marriage, to allow for a fair division of assets and a more precise determination of alimony and child support.  If you are concerned about alimony or child support issues, or the division of marital assets, contact our offices today at (732) 965-3350 for a free consultation.  We can help you make the right decisions, so that you can feel secure about your future.

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