Latest from The Divorce Asset Hunter - Page 2

It’s often the first idea people have when they want to know what their spouse is up to.: Surveillance. We are not usually in the business of following people around to prove infidelity, but will bring in experienced surveillance personnel in the case of high net worth asset searches. In most cases, the client decides against surveillance for these three reasons: It can be shockingly expensive, not least because you have to give it a…
In the past month, two divorcing clients contacted us and wanted asset searches performed without signing up us through their divorce lawyers. Here is the advice we gave them, as we give all our clients: “Sign us up through your lawyer. If your husband ever discovers that we are looking at him, he could subpoena our report.” The advantage of routing everything we report through your lawyer?  If your spouse ever discovers the existence of…
I was interviewed at length today for the #1 podcast on divorce planning, Divorce and Your Money. Among the detailed points covered: How asset searches work. How we take information from our clients. How investigation compliments legal discovery. Why Google searching is a good starting, but won’t do your thinking for you. “Asset” means “cash” to many people, but bank accounts are usually illegal to get without a court order. Why asset searching is an…
Clients come to us all the time with the suspicion that their spouse has stashed assets offshore. The problem is that they are not sure where. If there is one thing that is as difficult as getting money returned from an overseas location, it can be figuring out which overseas location we are even going search. We recently had a client who thought her husband’s assets could be scattered over five Asian jurisdictions. Clearly she…
A fascinating interview with the chief fact checker for The New Yorker in the Columbia Journalism Review here got us thinking about the distinction between checking the veracity of facts and finding new ones. Our firm does both, dealing mostly with the former in due diligence and the latter with asset searches. The New Yorker’s Peter Canby said that people mistakenly think “the world is divided into facts and opinions, and the checkers just deal…
If an investigator told you he could get you some cocaine or find you a way to conduct illegal business with North Korea, would you say “go ahead” simply based on the idea that it could be done? We ask people this question fairly often when they ask us to get bank account information of a former spouse without a court order. No matter how often we write that pretending to be someone else in…
GPS trackers are among the hottest topics in ethics discussions today. At least, that is my impression after a series of ethics lectures I’ve given around the country based on my book, The Art of Fact Investigation. We wrote three years ago about the need for caution before using one of these devices on someone else’s car, here. They are powerful devices that gather up a ton of information that it would take…
One of the most powerful tools a spouse had to monitor assets or other activities is to look at the shared computer of the spouse under investigation. We have written before in When You’re Allowed to Look Through Your Debtor’s Computers and Phones that as long as a person can show ownership of the computer, anything on that computer is probably fair game to look at, subject to some exceptions. Sending the contents of what…
The New York Times was half right and half wrong when it reported that the boom in “trophy homes in the sky” is over. The right part:  It turns out that there is not an inexhaustible supply of people willing to spend $50 million or more on a condominium they may rarely visit. The wrong part of the story is that many of these apartments were anything but trophies: they were means to conceal the…
Clients always want to know what’s involved in searching offshore for hidden assets. Our usual answer is, “time and a lot more money than it’s probably worth, unless you’re looking for millions of dollars.” Suddeutsche Zeitung, one of the recipients of the leaked Panama Papers reported that one lawyer “represented a female client in a divorce case, and it cost $2 to $3 million to uncover and disentangle the web of front companies into which…