Forensic Accounting in the Collaborative Process

December 1, 2017 by Sue McArthur

Forensic Accounting in the Collaborative Process

How can we constructively use forensic accounting in the Collaborative Process? The collaborative approach can encourage communication and transparency between parties when marriages break down and divorce proceedings start. It ensures that those involved achieve a fair settlement. It also helps to avoid unnecessary Court costs and the emotional strain of a lengthy legal battle.

The collaborative process persuades open sharing of documents and financial information between both parties. However, splitting assets is not as simple as dividing everything in half if the total value isn’t clear. Professional expertise may be required to value some of the marital assets before a settlement can be reached. An amicable forum for resolution doesn’t mean the need for all assets to be accurately valued is lost, particularly for complex matters such as business valuation and shareholdings.

Forensic accounting in the Collaborative Process can see a Forensic Accountant perform full reviews of all shared finances and business interests. They can identify assets which are not apparent at face value and, in the case of intangible assets, possibly not apparent at all. Investigation work is unlikely to be required in a collaborative situation, as there is still a level of trust between parties.

The true value of assets must be clear before they can be divided fairly. It can often be tricky to find a fair solution once the family wealth is clear, especially if the majority of capital is invested and liquid assets are not available. Getting advice can keep positive communications going until a fair outcome is reached.

Tait Walker’s Forensic team has acted as a Single Joint Expert in many divorce cases. We provide expert assistance on financial matters, benefitting both parties. This provides reassurance and helps to prevent a breakdown in negotiations. This supports collaborative law as it avoids the costs of each party instructing an expert.

Maria McKenna is a finance professional for Collaborative Law North East and an Associate member of the Academy of Experts. She is experienced in advising on financial aspects of family law cases. If you wish to discuss further or arrange a free consultation, please contact Maria on 0191 285 0321 or maria.mckenna@taitwalker.co.uk.