Everyone would love to have more information, but getting information is not always free. At what point does it become too expensive to pay for more?
We get this question a lot, especially when divorcing parties call us directly about our asset search services.
Firstly, before you file for divorce there are lots of things we can legally find out, and some we can’t:
We Can Locate Undisclosed Companies and Real Estate
- Whether before filing suit or attempting to collect on a judgment, a good picture of an opponent’s assets can be crucial. The key to many asset searches is discovering names of side companies controlled by your subject and then looking at what those companies control. There can be many layers to the structure.
- You may need a forensic accountant, but look to us first. Forensic accountants excel at looking at information they are given, but our specialty is finding extra information to give to your forensic accountant and/or business valuation expert.
We Can’t Get Bank Account Information
- Detailed bank account information the U.S. is not available without a court order or subpoena. If an investigator tells you otherwise, show him my article The Illegal Trade in Bank Accounts in The American Journal of Family Law.
- Typically, finding the assets in the form of companies or real estate can then lead us to bank account information or give us leads for issuing subpoenas or applying for an order from the court. You do this through your family law attorney once the divorce case has been filed.
Our Value for Divorcing Spouses
Consider the following case studies from actual cases we have done.
Husband Disclosed 30 Companies, We Found 30 More
Wife showed us husband’s net worth statement and disclosure from husband’s accountant, with accounts from 30 companies that husband controlled. We advised that she hold off on getting the opinion of a forensic accountant because we found 30 additional companies associated with the husband. The court ordered the appointment of an independent business valuation expert as a result of our work. Our bill was $2,500.
“Worthless Property” Turned Out to Be Valuable and Stolen from Client
Client briefed us that she and husband co-owned “worthless” piece of vacant property. We found this property was highly valuable and had produced significant rental income, but husband had fraudulently sold the business to his brother without informing the wife. Asset went from $30,000 in perceived value to more than $2 million. Our bill was $2,400.
Net Worth of Debtor 8-10 Times Higher Than Stated
In a regular commercial dispute, a debtor company presented our client (the lender) with a net worth statement of $12 million for its owner, who personally guaranteed the debt. Two years later the company defaulted and the owner claimed he was down to $1 million, offering a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar. We found that not only was he worth far more than $1 million, but that he had also failed to include lots of wonderful assets on the original net worth statement he provided to back up his guarantee. Settlement prospects improved by more than $2 million. Our bill was $5,000.
Want to know more about how we work? Our website has a wide range of publications and videos. You can also read my book, The Art of Fact Investigation which is available at bookstores online and for order from independent book sellers. And check out our other blog, The Ethical Investigator. We take you through the process step by step in Why Does My Investigation cost $2,400? A Breakdown of a Typical Bill.