Those cases are really interesting for the lawyer who is representing the other spouse in their dissolution of marriage case. Those are some of the trickiest situations that attorneys run into, because when it’s a closely held business that’s operated by the spouse who’s going to be paying maintenance, they have broad discretion on how to handle the finances of personal and corporate, how to handle business expenses, how to pay themselves, whether or not to pay themselves. There are all kinds of factors that go into that.
Forensic accountants who are certified fraud examiners have specific skills that enable them to get into the financial statements of businesses and try to help the lawyer and the client understand exactly what the income situation is – the true expenses along the way that will help value the business enterprise. They’re able to look and see whether or not there’s actually cash that perhaps isn’t being properly deposited in a bank account.
Those are certainly tricky situations. There are different ways to look at it. It’s not just necessarily tracing the cash; it sometimes can be collateral things that have happened that help give an indication as to the actual scope and magnitude of what’s going on, on the business side.
Chuck Roberts is a family lawyer at Momkus McCluskey Roberts, LLC, one of the largest law firms in DuPage County, Illinois.