Are Divorce Lawyers Necessary?

Today the Wall Street Journal had a piece about the Texas Supreme Court considering whether to allow people to use fill-in-the-blank forms for divorces, potentially saving them a lot of money in legal fees. It is possible to handle your divorce pro se, but there is a concern that people are doing so to their own detriment.  In an effort to help do-it-yourself divorcees, 36 states currently have fill-in-the-blank forms for divorce.

It is simple to find forms to use in your divorce, but some attorneys say that this is a problem because divorcing couples don’t use the right forms, become a burden on the courts when they require hand-holding, and can make uninformed decisions during the process of the divorce.

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Discovery of Financial Documents in Family Law Cases

Recently, my very smart friend and colleague Randy Kessler, Esq. participated in a podcast called Show Me the Money: Helping Clients Find and Protect Assets in a Divorce for the American Bar Association  Journal. The podcast focused on finding (and keeping!) assets in divorce and child support matters.

I’ve written about finding hidden income in divorce cases, as well as performing a lifestyle analysis to prove that there are hidden earnings. The concealment of assets and earnings in a divorce case is a hot-button issue. It is important to get your arms around these issues early if you are to have a good chance of finding the money and getting your share of the money.

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Using Public Records in Financial Investigations

The internet is an important source of information in financial investigations. It has become so important, that I wonder what I ever did without access to all of this information! Even though my work is focused on digging into the details of financial records – – and many of those are private and not available online – – I still acquire a lot of information helpful to my investigations on the internet.

In Chapter 5 of my book Expert Fraud Investigation: A Step-by-Step Guide, I discuss sources of information for fraud investigations. There are entire books devoted to the process of finding and using public records and public information to aid in investigations, so naturally a chapter of a book can only scratch the surface. However, in that chapter and in this article, I’m going to begin to show you how you can find valuable information.

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Divorce Financials: Lifestyle Analysis in Family Law Cases

This article was originally printed in the ABA Section of Family Law eNewsletter, November 2011.

One of the chief concerns in a divorce or child custody case is identifying the true income of one or both of the parties. It is not unusual for such a case to include allegations of hidden income or assets. It is common for a closely held business to suspiciously encounter declining sales and profits following the filing of a family law case.

In each of these instances, properly determining the income of the party is critical to getting a fair and equitable settlement, maintenance award, or child support award. Until you have the correct numbers, the attorney may find it very difficult to decide what is fair or in the best interest of the client.

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Finding Hidden Income in a Divorce or Child Support Case

This article was originally printed in the ABA Section of Family Law eNewsletter, Feb/March/April 2011.

When a divorce or a child support issue is looming, it’s amazing how a quickly a closely held business starts “losing money.” I use quotes because such a situation is so predictable. One party wants to protect her or his assets, and when there is a business involved, the motivation to hide money can be stronger than usual.

The types of businesses that can be prone to manipulation of the books include restaurants, retail stores, doctor or dentist offices, construction companies, auto dealerships, and law practices. This list isn’t exhaustive by any means, but it provides good examples of businesses at risk of financial maneuvering.

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Webcast: Follow the Money – Using Technology to Find Fraud or Defend Financial Investigations

Last week I presented a webcast for Securities Docket, Follow the Money – Using Technology to Find Fraud or Defend Financial Investigations. In this presentation geared toward attorneys, I gave an overview of some of the technology tools I’m currently using in my practice to provide better, faster financial investigations.

We looked at the process I’m using, as well as some of the results I’ve gotten for clients. This process is ideal for attorneys working on cases involving securities fraud, Ponzi schemes, white collar crime, divorce, tax fraud, and corporate fraud. The archived version of the webcast is available for viewing below.

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