24 Apr

MckMama Fraud: Jennifer McKinney Bankruptcy

Jennifer McKinney Bankruptcy MckMama McMama ScamOnce upon a time, there was a popular mommy blogger named Jennifer McKinney. She called herself MckMama, and had a blog called My Charming Kids. She was not noteworthy in any way – – until her fourth pregnancy took a turn for the worse. Her unborn son Stellan was determined to have a heart condition, and with pleas for prayer, Jennifer’s popularity skyrocketed.

The My Charming Kids blog (with McKinney’s “MSC” or “Many Small Children” as the focus) became so popular that at its height, Jennifer was grossing at least $150,000 to $175,000 per year from advertising and money-making gimmicks.

Questions Raised

Not content to post pictures of her kids and stories about everyday life, Jennifer McKinney was determined to live the high life, and pimp out herself, her family, and her blog to maximize her earnings.  She appeared to have it all: great kids, a happy marriage, a beautiful house, a luxury vehicle, media opportunities, trips, and much more. Read More

03 Apr

Book Review: The Forensic Accounting Deskbook

The Forensic Accounting Deskbook by Memphis divorce attorney Miles Mason is billed as a guide to financial investigations for family lawyers. This designation sells the book short. The book is an outstanding guide to financial analysis and forensic accounting not only for attorneys, but also for accountants and fraud investigators. Professionals at any level – – from beginner to seasoned expert witness – – can learn much from this book.

The book is exceptionally well organized, with numerous guides and examples that can be used as templates or guides for your current cases. The Forensic Accounting Deskbook begins with an introduction to forensic accounting and engaging the right CPA for your case.  It then moves into accounting for lawyers, which is an excellent overview. Many of the common accounting buzzwords and catch phrases are defined, and knowing what these mean will be invaluable to the attorney. The more you know about the financial issues, the better you can advocate for your client. Read More

24 Feb

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. Read More

13 Feb

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. Read More

13 Jan

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. Read More