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A forensic accountant is generally an accountant with expertise in detecting financial fraud or manipulation in personal and business tax returns, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, broker accounts, offshore accounts, cash, cryptocurrency, jewels, art, cars, yachts, airplanes, real estate, life insurance policies, and related financial documents. This financial investigation work is often referred to as tracing, financial tracing, or asset tracing, and generally involves “following the money” by tracing a piece of financial information or data back to its source.

In divorce litigation—and especially in high-asset or high-net-worth divorces in which there is significant marital or community property—any financial manipulation or fraud of personal or business finances may have a significant effect on the marital or community property that is available for division, and on spousal support and child support payment amounts. One or both spouses in a divorce may hire a forensic accountant to discover any hidden assets or manipulated financial documents that may prevent the court from having an accurate accounting of the marital or community property assets and the spouses’ incomes.

In Texas, forensic accounting is a critical tool in divorce litigation, particularly in cases involving high-net-worth individuals or substantial marital assets. Texas is a community property state, meaning that all property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be owned jointly by both spouses and must be divided equitably upon divorce. A forensic accountant's role is to conduct a thorough investigation of the couple's finances to ensure a fair division of assets. This includes identifying any hidden assets, uncovering financial fraud, and tracing funds to their source to provide an accurate representation of each spouse's financial standing. The findings of a forensic accountant can significantly impact the division of marital property, as well as the determination of spousal and child support payments. The use of forensic accountants in divorce proceedings is supported by Texas family law, which aims to achieve a just and right division of community property and ensure that support obligations are based on accurate financial information.

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