To make it seem like he has very little money, the debtor has been writing checks and giving cash to his friends, family and other people/businesses with the intention of recovering this money after you get divorced.
If you have access to your debtor’s bank records, they will be crucial in helping you ferret out whether or not your debtor may have colluded with friends and family to keep you from reaching his funds. Take a look through them. Do any of the checks strike you as out of the ordinary? Has your debtor withdrawn large amounts of cash around times when you don’t recall him making any big cash purchases? Your debtor may very well write checks or give cash to family and friends on birthdays and holidays, but if he is giving away large amounts of money, you may be on to something.
If your debtor is writing checks to companies that are unfamiliar to you, he may be hiding money in his own side companies. There are a few things you can do online to figure out more about these potential side companies. First, running a simple internet search might turn up some information that would tie the company to your debtor or one of your debtor’s business partners. Next, depending on the state of the company’s incorporation, you will be able to gather some level of information from the state’s corporate registry database. As we told you in our blogpost about finding real estate purchased through a secret company, some states’ corporate registry databases are more helpful than others. Some will have a list of officers which might include your debtor, while others may not give you much more than the entity name and date of filing.
Keep in mind, your debtor may not have incorporated his companies in the state in which you live. Delaware is a common place for businesses to incorporate, no matter where the business is physically located. If you can’t find the business in your home state, check the databases in Delaware and some nearby states as well.
Finally, if you think it won’t ruffle any feathers, pick up the phone and call and ask your debtor’s friends and relatives about the payments. Choose these people wisely. You might not want to call the direct recipients of the funds, as it seems they may already be helping to hide your debtor’s assets. But if you still have a good relationship with some other of your debtor’s family and friends, you may be able to get the information you need.