When people hear the word forensic, they likely think of police procedural television shows where experts use blood spatter, footprints or genetic information left behind at a crime scene to recreate the crime itself or possibly track down and successfully prosecute the offender.

Not all forensics tie directly into criminal proceedings. Some are merely very good at recreating something that happened or reviewing evidence to understand a situation, like a forensic accountant.

A forensic accountant can play an important role in a high-asset divorce. Higher assets can mean more incentive and ability to hide assets from a spouse before and during divorce proceedings. A forensic accountant can play an important role for someone getting a divorce who worries that their spouse might try hiding assets.

What does a forensic accountant do?

Forensic accountants can sometimes serve in criminal proceedings, as they can assist a prosecutor in figuring out the details of a money-laundering scheme. A forensic accountant will go carefully over financial records, looking for discrepancies, unexplained or unaccounted for transfers, and missing funds or assets.

A forensic accountant can review banking statements, tax paperwork and more for warning signs of financial infidelity, such as spending or opening accounts without discussing it with a spouse or hiding assets, income and resources by making deposits in an undisclosed account.

A forensic accountant can help you find hidden assets or can at least give you a value for the assets that your spouse diverted from marital or shared bank accounts.

When you know what’s missing, you can ask for what’s fair

In general, when the courts have to divide your assets and debt in a divorce, they must have an accurate inventory of your bank accounts, physical possessions and current deaths in order to find a way that it’s fair and reasonable to split things up.

If your spouse hid money, accounts or purchases from you, you won’t know about those items to claim them and therefore receive their fair value during your divorce. A forensic accountant can find those missing pieces and help you secure the fairest possible outcome.