Forensic accountants may be engaged to assist in the settlement of relationship property in the event of the parties separating. The law presumes that relationship property is divided equally except for certain circumstances.
While the forensic accountant must be aware of the issue that determine many of the factors involved in the assessment of relationship property, these are issues for which legal advice is required.
Evidence that we obtain from the investigation of financial statements and prime records can determine whether:
- Property was acquired during the relationship;
- The funds for the purchase were or were not separate property;
- Relationship funds were applied to the maintenance of that asset resulting in some relationship interest
- Relationship funds have been disposed of to a trust or qualifying company.
Forensic Accountants are often asked to assess the value of a claim for lump sum payment for economic disparity (S.15 Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
This is to compensate where, when the relationship ends, the income and standard of living of one party is likely to be significantly higher than the other party as a result of the division of duties within the relationship while the parties were living together. Typically this is where a wife has foregone her career to raise children, or to enable her husband’s career to develop, and as a result her income and lifestyle post separation is considerably lower than her husband.