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Divorce: How can a forensic accountant or business valuation professional help in this troubling time?


man and woman at desk with papersBy Scott Koman CPA, CVA, CFE, MAFF

While most people prepare for the emotional and legal strain caused by a divorce, many underestimate how financially complicated the process can be—especially for those who own businesses.

Valuing and dividing marital assets can be highly complex. The process of evaluating and separating jointly held matrimonial assets and debts is one of the biggest challenges in many divorces, especially when the marital assets include closely held business interests. 

Determining what valuation date (or dates) to use, separating personal goodwill from business goodwill, and selecting the appropriate discounts or premiums to apply are complexities that arise when valuing a business interest for divorce. A business valuation professional can help sort out complicated divorce-related valuation issues.

Understanding the value of goodwill in divorce can be quite complex, as it differs depending on where you are and the specifics of your situation. Sometimes, courts might even look at how similar cases have been handled in other states if there isn't much precedent locally. That's where a valuation expert comes in—they can help provide a clear and well-supported analysis of the facts involved, making sense of it all for everyone involved.

The right professional to protect your interests

It is essential to know when to involve an accountant and, perhaps even more importantly, what type of accountant you need. 

Alimony payments, child support payments, and other divorce-related financial situations have tax consequences. Additionally, parties may withhold or slant information in a contentious divorce to protect their financial interests.

When the appropriate disclosure or treatment of marital assets is in question, a forensic investigation may be needed. And when a business is involved, you need someone skilled at determining value.

At Boyer & Ritter, our team includes forensic accountants and business valuation professionals with designations such as Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), and Master Analyst in Financial Forensics (MAFF). 

We frequently work with attorneys on divorce cases and other litigious matters. The earlier we are involved, the better, as it is imperative that the necessary information needed to perform our services is requested during the discovery phase of litigation. 

If you are going through a divorce and think you may need a forensic accountant or business valuation professional, don't hesitate to get in touch with me or another member of our team.


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