While there is sometimes overlap between the skillset and work product of divorce financial planners and forensic accountants, divorce financial planning is NOTforensic accounting.
Divorce financial planning is a forward-looking process that focuses on lifestyle issues relevant to divorce or separation, issues such as the respective post-separation needs and paying abilities of the parties or the financial workability of potential outcomes.
In contrast, forensic accounting is a more backward-looking process that focuses on finding, characterizing and valuing assets and income. While the divorce financial planner is a generalist with a broad background in personal financial issues, the education and experience of the forensic accountant is generally more focused on a more limited set of divorce-related issues such as business valuation, fraud or the discovery of hidden assets.
The forensic accountant is often used as an outside expert in the divorce process, with a limited and specific assignment. While the divorce financial planner is sometimes used in this fashion, he/she is increasingly becoming more directly involved as an intimate member of a divorce team.
Whatever their respective roles or services provided, divorce financial planners and forensic accountants can both play important roles in the divorce process.