Marital Assets in Divorce: When Two Become One
Posted On April 18, 2017 By mhauk
Our daily lives are extremely busy and when it comes to household finances, the implicit trust in family or spousal relationships often results in individuals passing control of their finances to their significant other to deal with on their behalf, with one person generally taking charge.
In the event of a divorce or family dispute, this trust breaks down and dishonesty can set in. This can result in a loss of control and being kept in the dark about your personal wealth, where your money has been spent, and what your true entitlement is when a relationship breaks down.
It is common for funds to be held as one in a marriage, especially when a joint bank account is in place and reliance is placed on one spouse as the breadwinner.
Former Spice Girl Mel B has been in the press recently following the breakdown of her marriage and she is reportedly appointing a Forensic Accountant. It has been reported that her fortunes have been kept out of her reach, with her husband having full control over her finances and she is unable to confirm her asset base in order to propose a fair settlement.
Splitting assets between two parties is not necessarily as simple as dividing everything in half, as transactions may not always be what they seem, resulting in the underlying asset base being unclear.
In Mel’s case, a textbook valuation of the marital assets may not be the correct course of action. An investigation will be required to unravel where and how the money has been spent and to reconcile and quantify any potential loss of assets.
Forensic Accountants instructed to undertake this type of work perform a full review of all matrimonial finances, potentially uncovering funds and assets which don’t appear at face value. They provide a legally compliant Expert Report that will withstand the high level of scrutiny required by the Court to be admitted as evidence in the case. This Expert work and knowledge of the Civil justice system will help ensure the claimant achieves a fair and suitable settlement.
Our Forensic Services team have dealt with many matrimonial cases where spouses had no awareness of their marital financial assets. Some had lost their life savings when relationships broke down and large sums were hidden and excluded from the reported assets in legal proceedings.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the issues raised in more detail, please contact Hannah Farmborough or call on 0207 429 4147 to be put in contact with a member of our Forensic Accountancy Team.
This article originally appeared on the blog of our member firm, Tait Walker.