PROBLEM:

You know that your debtor has a taste for the finer things in life, but, above all she adores furs.  Occasionally, a new mink would suddenly appear on the first wintry day of the year.  If you asked about it, she would shrug it off, explaining that she bought it years ago. You always suspected that she hid her big-ticket purchases from you. When you ask where her furs are now, she replies that she sold all of her furs and donated the proceeds to PETA just before you split up.

SOLUTIONS:

Unless your debtor has a secret room to hide her collection, she will need to store those furs somewhere. Like art, furs have special requirements when it comes to storage.  Furs can dry out or mold over time and sustain considerable damaged if they are not housed in a climate-controlled environment. Even worse, they can fall prey to insects and rodents.  This rules out most run-of-the-mill storage lockers as viable options for a serious collector.

Your local dry cleaner may be able to keep a few coats, but they are probably not equipped to store a sizeable fur collection.  Try contacting storage facilities that specialize in maintaining furs.  The list of fur storage sites will likely be a short one.  Even in a place as big as New York City has only a handful of fur storage facilities, and nearly all of them are located in the “fur district,” an area just southwest of Herald Square.

Many high-end furriers also offer repair and storage as ancillary services to their customers.  If you know the debtor’s favorite place to buy furs, check there first.  Her entire collection may be safely tucked away in their cold-storage locker. If the furrier does not have its own storage facility, ask them who they use to store their customers’ collections.

If you don’t know the debtor’s furrier of choice, her financial records may give you a clue, if you have access to them. Pay special attention to the debtor’s records for bank accounts or credit cards that she does not share with you.  If she is trying to keep her purchases a secret, she likely did not use the joint checking account or the Mastercard that is billed to your house to buy a $10,000 coat.

If you only have access to joint accounts, look for smaller charges for repairing, cleaning or storing her furs.  She may have gotten sloppy and used your shared credit card if the amount was not enough to raise any eyebrows.