Accountants: Your Role in Your Client’s Divorce

When a couple decide to separate, their accountant – and resolving their financial affairs – is critical to the process, particularly if the couple own and operate a business.

The Wonderley & Hall Family Law team strive to maintain involvement, as appropriate, with our clients’ accountants during family law matters, because we understand the important role they play in achieving a successful outcome for our clients and their business.

So, what are some of the ways accountants can assist.

  • Keeping on top of the financial situation. If business owners are distracted by personal, often deeply emotional issues, they may not be closely monitoring the health of their business.  This is the perfect time for their accountant to take a more hands on role and to be involved in monitoring cash flow and other business health indicators.
  • What are my options? Accountants are often the best placed to give advice on what options are available for dividing up assets or business interests.  They may be able to see a solution that lets a thriving business continue to thrive, while also providing an existing partner with funds or property.
  • Compliance issues. Keeping a business on the right side of the ATO is a challenge at the best of times and at the worst of times it is an area which is often let slide.  Accountants can assist when their clients are distracted, to ensure compliance matters don’t add to the difficulties at hand.

These could be classified as largely defensive measures aimed at minimising damage.  But it is important to be open to the possibility of some benefits that can be gained from a tax or financial point of view during the relationship breakdown.

Accountants working with their clients, and the lawyers involved, can help take advantage of potential opportunities that might arise for significant stamp duty or capital gains tax rollovers.

The Wonderley and Hall Family Law team is happy to discuss with our colleagues in the accounting industry any matters which arise following a separation.  Please contact a member of our team if you would like more information.

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