Forensic accounting in family proceedings

A family or divorce related dispute can be a very difficult time; tensions run high and sometimes neither party is prepared to fully declare their assets or cooperate! Going through a divorce is hard enough without having to deal with complicated financial issues.

Contact Chris about your case

How Chris can help

Chris can help to make this process easier and less stressful so that divorce disputes are dealt with in the most respectful manner without tarnishing relationships. And as a qualified mediator (though not a family mediator) he is well accustomed to understanding both sides of any argument and bringing calm to strained relationships. He is particularly proud of applying his Yorkshire nous to a problem; see for example the third family Case Study: “Divorce the spouses, but don’t divorce the companies.”

Chris Makin smiling into a mirror

Chris’s range of experience

Because Chris acted as a general practitioner for the first 20 years of his career, advising clients from corner shops to public companies, and has been a businessman himself as he built four accountancy practices, he has a vast knowledge of many industries and a deep understanding of how things work: business and industry, the minds of the businessman and family relationships. He’s able to provide a business valuation that is required for a clean break. For help in other cases, please see his article on Forensic Accounting In Matrimonial Cases to find out how he may be able to assist.

Pen laying on top of a report on a desk

Speak to Chris about your case

Chris offers an initial review with no obligation, so you can find out more about the value that he can add to your case before you commit to instruct him. This is without charge on all but the largest cases. If he feels his involvement is not needed in your particular case, he’ll let you know. So it costs you nothing to find out if Chris can help.

Chris Makin Mediator

What's involved?

Sometimes it is necessary to investigate the finances of one party to the divorce, on behalf of the other. It used to be helped by the case of Hildebrand where, if one spouse found some papers which showed that the other was lying or understating their wealth, those papers could be used in evidence so long as they were shown to the other side. Chris has had some stunning results with Hildebrand. The case of Imerman stopped that.

The usual situation in a family dispute is that the husband (usually the husband) wants to take the family business out of the marriage, so the wife will take the house and savings etc. to reach a clean break. But they need an even split, so what is the value of the business?


Typically, Chris gets a joint letter from the two spouses’ solicitors asking him to outline:

  • The worth of the whole company?
  • What is Mr/Mrs X’s share worth?
  • What tax would be payable if a share were transferred from one spouse to the other?
  • Would it be possible for a lump sum of money to be removed from the company to assist in a clean break?
  • If a clean break is not possible, what are the spouses’ future earnings likely to be?
  • And, crucially, what would you charge for producing a report on all of this for the court?

These are all questions that require clarification and investigation by a forensic accountant in divorce proceedings so that the court can make a clear decision.


If a split of assets (a “clean break”) is not possible in a court case, someone needs to help the court by saying how much the spouses are likely to earn in future, so that a periodic payments order may be made. And if a spouse is self-employed or a director of their own company, a forensic accountant will be needed to say how much he/she is likely to earn in the future.

Answers to these questions are critical to help the court make an informed decision during divorce disputes on what is to happen to the family’s assets. This is why calling in an expert forensic accountant like Chris is important so that the court case runs smoothly and the judges have all the information they need.

Types of matrimonial cases

Chris typically works on matrimonial cases where a business valuation is needed for a clean break.

He has worked on other cases, but there may be limitations to how Chris can assist your case. His blog on Forensic Accounting in Matrimonial Cases explains these limitations and would be useful to help you understand how he may be able to help.

Contact Chris about your case

Why Chris?

These days, except for the biggest value cases, the judge will only allow one expert accountant to act for both sides, and produce a joint report for the court. This is called an SJE, or Single Joint Expert. Chris has done a vast number of these cases, and had special training as an SJE.

So he is in a prime position to liaise with you on any family disputes or related forensic accounting cases, which require thorough investigation of the financials and assets involved.

If you need assistance from a family forensic accountant in divorce proceedings then get in touch.

Speak to Chris