Robert A. Bonavito, CPA PC

Divorce Series Intro: NJ Forensic Accountant on Divorce

My name is Robert Bonavito, "New Jersey Forensic Accountant." This video is part of a series of videos where I discuss forensic accounting topics for educational purposes only. If this was a litigated matter I would take a different approach, have different conclusions based on different facts.

Hi everybody. Welcome to our next segment of "New Jersey Forensic Accountant." This is going to be a nine-part series dealing mainly with matrimonial and divorce issues. This is based on a seminar I gave a couple of weeks ago, and what I do is I split it up to nine different segments. So, you know, depending on what your interest is, you may just want to flip around. But we're going to talk about a lot of things here, New Jersey from the divorce forensic accountant, divorce in New Jersey, case information statement, pendente lite, the 2014 alimony changes. Lots of good stuff.

And if you look at the screen here, you could see that I have a picture of the Battle of Balaclava. This happened in Crimea when the British were at war with the Russians. And what the Russians did was they lined both sides of the valley with heavy canon and also fortified their forts at the very end of the canon.
And the Light Brigade was ordered to advance. Obviously, this was not gonna turn out well for the Light Brigade.

And we're going to go over a poem that was written later on, a famous poem. But the reason I use this picture to depict matrimonial engagements because a lot of times, you know, you have two people or a divorce situation where you're dealing with complex issues where no one really understands all the facts and sometimes you march forward without understanding those facts.

So, when I think of matrimonial engagements, I kinda think and look, take a step back and say, "Hey, have I seen this before? How many times have I seen this before?" And I think it's important to understand that. Now, if you look at the poem here, which was written by Tennyson. Okay, you can see that...I mean, you've probably heard this poem before, but one of the important things here is, and the reason again we're talking about this is because as someone who's been doing this for over 30 years and has testified or worked in thousands of cases, a couple things you should be aware of.

One, you want, of course, a good attorney, a good experienced matrimonial attorney, but also when you're looking for a forensic accountant obviously experience is critical. But you also would like them to have what's called a CFF Credential. CFF Credential's issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

I was one of the original designers and writers for this test, and we have what's called a case-specific outline when we made this test. And we made sure that if you could answer the questions correctly, you would understand the key aspects of matrimonial divorce, which include laws, the courts, expert testimony, that kind of stuff. And we actually had a psychometrician come in and verify that the questions we were asking were relevant to the test. So, if you are in a, you know, you're ordering the, you know, the troops who advance, you better understand and make sure that they know what the goal is and you should understand it, too.

So, just to give you a little flavor for what I mean. In one of my first cases I've ever testified in was, you know, over 30 years ago, it was a trial. And I had to show up there at 12:00 [inaudible 00:03:44] testimony morning. And I went in and I talked to the attorney, I talked to the client, "Anything happen?" "No." I went up on the stand, and, you know, I knew what I was kind of gonna say. And when the other attorney was crossing me, he was circling the courtroom like a shark. And he was running up...most dramatic court testimony I had ever done.

He was running up and pointing, "Mr. Bonavito, Mr. Bonavito." And I kinda got the idea that something happened in the morning that was going to affect my testimony. And I'm looking at my...the judge, he was very interested, the jury was like this on the end of their seats. My attorney was very nervous, and so it was our clients. And it came time for him to ask this question, again, he was very dramatic, running around a courtroom. And he came up to ask me the question that I obviously was not gonna know the answer to.

And what happened at that very second was a fire alarm went off. You never saw someone so disappointed in your life. And we got up to stand and obviously we were able to recuperate, and things turned out okay. But the point is that because there was not communication, okay, I was put in a situation where I was not, I didn't understand the facts, didn't... And all he had to do was tell me before I went on the stand. And that's why when I think of matrimonial engagements, I have that picture, you know, of the Light Brigade charging into the, you know, into the forts.

So, let's talk a little bit about the agenda for this nine-part series. We're only going to cover part one, which was what you just heard. We're gonna talk about pendente lite. We're going to talk about New Jersey divorce categories. We're going to talk about the 14 factors of alimony, which you should understand, even, like, again, some people here are lawyers and some people are forensic accountants watching this.

But, you know, if you're someone who's in the middle of a divorce, that's would be of interest to you, tax effect of alimony and maintenance, case information statement, which is critical. I'm going to actually show you one and additional information, whatever I decide. So listen guys, this is short. I know it was to the point, but I want to keep these concise. If you have any questions, just put it on my YouTube channel. Me or one of my analysts will get back to you. Thanks for listening.

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