The Business Lifestyle Analysis

iStock_000019355019XSmallThis article was originally printed in the ABA Section of Family Law eNewsletter, April 2014.

Closely held businesses present special challenges in the family law setting. Typically, only one spouse is actively involved in the business. Therefore, not only does the spouse control the family’s finances, he or she also controls all of the records of the business. When a spouse is attempting to quantify the income from the business or the value of the business, the spouse who works actively in the business can purposely (and often very effectively) obstruct attempts to get accurate and complete data.

Certain types of businesses, such as restaurants and retail stores, can be prone to manipulation because they have so many cash transactions. Construction companies, real estate ventures, and auto dealerships are notorious for “creative” bookkeeping. Professional service providers, such as doctors, dentists, and attorneys are at risk for financial maneuvering because it is so difficult to verify the amount of professional services actually provided to patients or clients.

Any business that is closely held and has finances that are easily manipulated by the owner is at risk. If this happens, the “out” spouse is left looking for alternatives to get to the bottom of the finances. Techniques used in a personal lifestyle analysis can also be applied to businesses to ferret out the truth about the money.

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Lifestyle Analysis in Divorce Cases: Investigating Spending and Finding Hidden Income and Assets (Book)

LifestyleAnalysisInDivorceCasesSmallMy new book, Lifestyle Analysis in Divorce Cases: Investigating Spending and Finding Hidden Income and Assets, is being published by the American Bar Association this summer. It will be the only book available on the topic of lifestyle analysis in divorce cases. While there are plenty of excellent books on financial issues in divorce, none of them focuses on the lifestyle analysis, how it is done, and how the results may be used in court.

This book focuses solely on the lifestyle analysis in the family law case, although other services from a financial professional may also be needed in a case. The lifestyle analysis is the process of tabulating and analyzing the income and expenses of the parties. The lifestyle analysis is then used to determine the standard of living of the parties, which will influence support calculations, and possibly property division.

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Does Ex-Wife Have Rights to Chris Mackney’s Suicide Note?

In December 2013, Chris Mackney (aka Christopher Machnij) committed suicide after penning a suicide note and posting it publicly on the internet. The letter alleges that Mackney was a victim of a corrupt family court system, and was being alienated from his young children. His inability to access his children appears to be a major factor in his suicide.

The text of the suicide note was posted on a forum at A Voice For Men in February, without much fanfare. But then Dina Mackney, the departed’s ex-wife decided she did not want anyone to read about the allegations against her. So she used the courts to help her scrub the internet of Chris Mackney’s existence.

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How Attorneys Can Use Private Investigators

When client budgets are tight, there is a reluctance to spend money on professionals such as forensic accountants and private investigators. But I have learned that the do-it-yourself method (either the client doing it or the attorney doing it) often misses the mark. There is a reason why professionals are trained in specialty fields. Simply … Read more How Attorneys Can Use Private Investigators