Determining the value of a family owned business, especially during a divorce, can be a lengthy, complicated process. Even assuming the business has good records and a clean copy of their books, an experienced professional may be needed to determine the actual value of the business.
A lot of businesses are service oriented or may rely heavily on one or more of the owners. This means it may not actually be possible to sell the business and that it can't be valued that way. This is where Richard Ross Associates would bring a forensic accountant in. A forensic accountant will take the business' financial records and carefully comb through them to get an accurate understanding of how the business is doing financially. Once they have this understanding, financial reports can be put together to determine the value of the business.
Use of a forensic accountant is especially important when a business' books aren't quite accurate and/or one of the parties is in the dark about the financial operations of the business. Cash based businesses can also be difficult to track and having a forensic accountant on your team can help to put together the information.
Forensic accounts, as with other experts used in a family law matter, can be hired by one of the parties or jointly. Hiring an expert jointly can be beneficial to both parties and increases the likelihood of a settlement being achieved. When a forensic accountant is hired by one party alone, it may be harder to obtain records for the business if the party hiring the accountant is not the party already in control of those records. The party in control of the records does have a fiduciary duty to provide the records to the other party, however without judicial intervention there may be some obstacles. This is where having an experienced family law attorney, in addition to a qualified forensic accountant, comes into play. The attorneys at Richard Ross Associates have a strong reputation amongst their peer attorneys and often succeed in reaching an agreements with the other party on the use of a forensic accountant. On the occasion that an agreement cannot be reached, our attorneys will waste no time in getting an order from the judge appointing an expert.