Our ATKG financial experts are ready to work with your litigation team in 2022—from identifying and analyzing financial documents for forensic and business valuation cases to tracing assets to maximize the community and separate estates in divorces. Bring us in early! Do not wait until after settlement negotiations have failed or just before the case goes to trial. After the discovery phase, attorneys who hire financial experts often miss valuable opportunities to strengthen their cases. Involving us early in the discovery phase can help elicit information that reinforces expert opinions and lends credibility to testimony related to divorce cases, business valuations, and damages calculations.
Valuation professionals don’t value businesses using only financial statements and management forecasts. Additional information, conducting site visits, and management interviews help the expert understand the business, management, its industry, strengths and weaknesses, and the risks that may affect its future performance. The same holds true to understanding the history of business and investments as started and held in marriages. To gain the whole picture requires more than just looking at cash flow statements and marriage certificates.
In litigation, experts can assist attorneys in crafting deposition questions, interrogatories, and other discovery requests designed to dig deeper. An expert’s early, in-depth involvement can help provide insight into how a company achieved historical results, what’s expected to drive company performance, or how a business in the marital estate was funded.
Whether valuing an asset or determining community and separate property in a divorce — or rebutting an opponent’s valuation or marital estate allocation — by participating in the discovery process, the expert can gather information and answer questions that support (or challenge) existing assumptions, generate new assumptions and lead to new avenues of discovery.
How Early Involvement Can Help
Suppose you represent the petitioner in a divorce case. The petitioner seeks to retain his or her separate property and obtain their share of the community marital estate. The Texas Family Code requires that separate property be proven by clear and convincing evidence. At ATKG, we have tracing resources and knowledge to identify the separate and community allocations.
As financial experts, we help develop a discovery strategy designed to obtain information that illustrates how a certain piece of property is the petitioner’s separate property. We can participate in the attorney’s request for additional documentation such as bank statements, trust documents, deeds, and additional third-party items that can aid in the tracing process and solidify the property as the petitioner’s separate.
A Winning Strategy
Involving the ATKG financial experts early in the litigation process will help elicit information that reinforces expert opinions and lends credibility to testimony. Help shape the discovery process, and ultimately, the case outcome and results and call on our litigation team early!
Ruth Olivares is a Manager at ATKG, bringing 15 years of expertise in financial statements, assurance services, and litigation support. With prior experience in the Big Four and at a local firm, Ruth has a wealth of knowledge in real estate, construction, oil and gas, retail, and nonprofit industries. She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees in accounting from Trinity University, graduating Cum Laude. In 2021, she received the “TXCPA Rising Star Award” from the Texas Society of CPAs. Ruth currently serves as a Director on the San Antonio CPA Society Board of Directors.
Elizabeth Paller is a litigation professional with four years of experience in Real Estate and Professional Services. She Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Texas State University and an Associate of Applied Science in Paralegal Studies from San Antonio College.
If you need assistance with understanding the new lease standard, Ruth can be reached at email@example.com or 210.733.6611
Note: Thomson Reuters resources were used in the development of this article.