History’s Biggest Divorces and Forensic Accounting’s Role

High Net Worth Divorces

What is Forensic Accounting?

Within the world of accounting, there are numerous specializations, handling everything from tax preparation to legal proceedings. Forensic accounting plays a particularly critical role by investigating and examining financial records to find abnormalities, such as fraud or financial misconduct. Typically, forensic accountants examine financial elements such as:

  • Documents
  • Transactions
  • Activities
  • Accounts

Forensic accountants also often play a key role in litigation and fraud cases, providing testimony and expertise that provides accurate and credible financial evidence that can then be used to address financial wrongdoing. They provide a much-needed service in a variety of different legal cases, including divorce proceedings, particularly high net worth divorces.

4 of History’s High Net Worth Divorces

Forensic accounting is vital in divorce proceedings. It helps uncover hidden assets, assess the true value of marital assets, and determine accurate spousal and child support calculations, ensuring equitable division for both parties. This is especially crucial in the case of high net worth divorces, where there are a large amount of assets that must be divided.

Wondering what history’s most expensive divorces are? Here are four of the highest net worth divorces:

1. Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos

CEO and founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and his wife, MacKenzie, filed for divorce in January 2019 after twenty-five years of marriage. Their divorce was finalized in March, with MacKenzie Bezos receiving 25% of the two’s Amazon stock, valued at $38 billion.

2. Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein

Alec and Jocelyn Wildenstein are known for their dramatic, high-profile 1999 divorce, which involved Alec Wildenstein threatening his wife with a gun after being caught with another woman. Both were well-to-do, with Alec a successful art dealer and Jocelyn a Swiss socialite. The divorce ended with her being awarded $3.8 billion.

3. Rupert Murdoch and Anna Maria Torv

Business tycoon Rupert Murdoch and his wife Anna Marie Torv split in June of 1999 after over thirty years of marriage. Rupert Murdoch remarried less than two weeks after the divorce was finalized, but not before being ordered to pay a $1.7 billion settlement to his second former wife.

4. Adnan and Soraya Khashoggi

Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi married his wife, Soraya, when she was twenty. The two were married for thirteen years before divorcing in 1974. As an arms dealer for the Saudi government, Adnan Khashoggi was more than a little successful financially and ended up settling his divorce with his ex-wife for around $874 million.

The Role of Forensic Accounting in High Net Worth Divorces

Forensic accounting is an important part of any legal proceeding that involves finances, including divorce. A skilled forensic accountant can use their expertise and knowledge to thoroughly examine a financial situation, uncover any hidden details, and properly assess the net worth of an individual.

Are you in need of experienced and professional certified public accountant services? Here at Smith, Stohlman, James & Gardere, P.A., we are committed to providing exceptional financial services to each one of our clients.

Contact us today for forensic accounting services and much more!