Working with solicitors

Divorce accountants supplement the skills of the solicitor and barrister for those clients whose divorces are financially complex. We focus solely on financial aspects of the case and provide no advice on the law.

Our divorce accountants are experienced business people who bring an exceptional level of accounting expertise and insight to the finance, which should improve the quality of financial evidence and save the legal team time. That in turn can improve the client’s negotiating position in any out-of court settlement or Court hearing.

What we do

Not only do we bring expertise to the trickiest financial areas, but we can streamline the financial aspects of a case and enable progress to be made faster. We are also very cost-effective, with rates starting at £140 per hour + VAT. We are fast, responsive and used to meeting urgent timetables and Court dates. We are good with clients. Working together, we can make a formidable team.

We are very “hands-on” and, in contrast with most firms of forensic accountants, we are happy to undertake small projects – perhaps a brief financial review taking just a few hours. Often our task is to undertake a detailed analysis of the financial position of the client’s spouse and to highlight shortcomings in the disclosures. If that spouse is a business person we might be asked to review the intricacies of his or her assets, the value of his business interests or the reasonableness of the earnings. Where required we provide concise reports to explain our findings and our interpretation of the reality behind the numbers.

We are highly proficient in drafting the financial content of Applicant / Respondent questionnaires (in the conventional style and format adopted by solicitors) following the exchange of Form E – and in interpreting the responses. We can also help in the precise preparation of the client’s own financial disclosures as clients sometimes need help. Many find the detail bewildering and the time pressures enormous. Where we provide that help we can guarantee you a clean and robust Form E to present your client’s situation in the most appropriate way. For example, we are often asked to complete the business sections and to formulate an indicative business valuation.

Who we act for

We act for numerous solicitors and barristers, but in any particular case we only act for one party.

We are happy to be instructed directly by the solicitor or directly by the client. In the latter case we would still work closely with the solicitor, but in an independent capacity. If a Joint Single Expert is required we can effect introductions and assist on the terms of reference.

Reports

We specialise in identifying areas of challenge or further enquiry of the spouse’s Form E. We collate and interpret complex financial information. Our reports are clear and, where possible, succinct. Our work is always tightly focussed and aims to highlight the key points at issue.

We understand the importance of attention to detail. Although trawling through a mountain of bank statements can be tedious it can uncover a wealth of information and provide the clarity necessary to prove points on earnings, expenditure and needs. We use document scanning, OCR techniques and spreadsheets extensively to enable a comprehensive and speedy analysis.

Main areas of work:

Valuing business interests

Brief or detailed forensic review of business activities and family companies, their complexity, difficulties presented and the opportunities to explore

  • Making preliminary valuations of business interests
  • Undertaking short, tightly-scoped “desktop” financial overviews and detailed reports and investigations
  • Unravelling complex / foggy accounting and identifying the key issues
  • Investigation of trades, accounting and inappropriate transactions
  • Unravelling of complex corporate structures and family shareholdings
  • Assessing true levels of business profitability / assets

Challenging authoritatively any valuation presented by the other party

Assessing the income derived from the business

  • Gauging the spouse’s actual income / remuneration / drawings arising from business interests

Investigating the spouse

  • Examining a complex Form E received from the client’s spouse and interpreting disclosures
  • Identifying deficiencies
  • Assessing the true income and / or assets of the client’s spouse
  • Drafting of detailed financial elements of the questionnaire

Helping the client with their financial disclosures

  • Preparing the client’s Form E, including accurate income details and needs budget, indicative business value
  • Helping answer detailed financial queries from the other party

Other areas

  • Considering basic tax issues
  • Collating evidence for / against financial contributions made to the marriage
  • Inputting into the overall settlement strategy and the options for funding the same