One of the most difficult mediations to conduct is in an extremely contentious divorce where one or both spouses are self employed and where the husband and wife are fighting over children, spousal support, and assets. At Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc., our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators have found that in most cases the fight over time-sharing revolves around the amount of child support that one party owes the other. But in order to get to the issue of child and spousal support in these types of case, a major issue becomes what is the actual incomes of each party.
Then the issues that Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc., has to address is where money and assets may be hidden, whether so called debts are really marital debts, and the real valuation of all marital assets and debts. In order to determine these issues, it is very important for one or both spouses to appear at mediation with a forensic accountant. Although a forensic accountant can be expensive, it can also be well worth the costs that are associated with this type of an accounting.
In Florida, our Family Law Statutes presume that marital debts and assets will be divided equally between the husband and wife; as well as set forth the parameters for child and spousal support. Although in many cases these issues can be very simple, when one or both spouses believe that assets and/or income are being hidden mediation becomes much more difficult.
In types of cases where one or both spouses is self-employed; or runs their business through a legal entity such as a Florida Limited Liability Company, a Florida Corporation, or is employed in a closely held family business it can be extremely difficult to determine a spouse’s income. A forensic accountant can help to determine these types of issues, as well as where the issues involve financial portfolios where a spouse has stock options and/or restricted stock, and partnerships with non-familial individuals.
The best way to conduct mediation where there are extremely complex financial issues is where there are forensic accountants involved. Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators recognize that in order to properly divide assets and set support levels is to understand the long-term financial and tax impact of divorce settlement agreements which requires the calculations of forensic accountants.
Although a forensic accountant can be essential in convincing a Florida Family Law Judge to rule in your favor on child and spousal support issues as well as the distribution of assets and debts, and an accurate valuation of all marital assets, this same forensic accountant can accurately determine income as well as value marital assets and debts in order to help to resolve all issues during mediation.
Although it can be difficult for the ordinary individual to fully understand the need for a forensic accountant, at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc., our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators recognize that a forensic accountant can make the difference between settling a divorce case at mediation and spending tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring your case to trial.