Tracy Coenen, CPA, CFF
One of the most important tools a family lawyer can use in a divorce case is a lifestyle analysis: the process of tabulating and analyzing the income and expenses of the parties in order to confirm or refute a spouse’s income claims, among other uses. This updated edition of Lifestyle Analysis in Divorce Cases: Investigating Spending and Finding Hidden Income and Assets discusses these subjects in logical, easy-to-understand manner, bringing clarity to a topic that could be confusing for attorneys and judges who often lack an accounting or finance background.
A financial expert or forensic accountant can play an integral part in a divorce case involving complex financial matters. One of the most important tools they can use is a lifestyle analysis, a component being employed in an increasing number of divorces.
Lifestyle Analysis in Divorce Cases walks through the critical documents used in the lifestyle analysis, as well as the process used to complete a thorough and accurate analysis. The book discusses in detail the information that can be gleaned from tax returns, financial statements, bank statements, and other financial documents. The lifestyle analysis is then used to determine the standard of living for all parties, which will influence important support calculations and may affect property division. Additionally, a lifestyle analysis can uncover hidden sources of income and be used to evaluate the finances of each party in a prenuptial agreement.
Author Tracy Coenen, CPA, CFF, discusses these subjects in a manner that is logical and easy to understand, bringing clarity to a topic that could be confusing for attorneys, judges, and juries who often lack an accounting or finance background. The book begins with the critical factors to use in analyzing a couple’s standard of living, followed by a discussion of the various types of income and why they should be either included or excluded from calculations in a family law case.
To help an attorney determine whether a lifestyle analysis is necessary for a particular case, the author discusses the numerous red flags that may indicate hidden income or assets or other financial irregularities, including sources for obtaining information, the documents needed for a lifestyle analysis and a strategy for gathering and managing these documents, and discovery from the perspective of the financial expert. Additional chapters focus on key elements included in a lifestyle analysis, including:
- Analyzing historical spending
- Locating hidden assets
- Business lifestyle analysis
- Reporting and testifying
Appendices include a financial discovery checklist, sample Form 1040 and related schedules, and a direct examination checklist.