Why You Should Use an Asset Search in a Complex Divorce Case
When a divorce client is going through an asset intensive, complex divorce, their spouse may have selective amnesia regarding the full extent of their assets and business interests. A quick and cost-effective asset search can spell out the assets and liabilities of your subject and provide a road map for conducting further discovery.
Prosecuting a spouse in a complex divorce, who may be self-employed and has a variety of assets, can be a daunting process for the attorney and their client. If one spouse is routinely moving goal posts and being cagey about their assets, it can consume your client’s retainer very quickly. You also do not want to be accused of not satisfying your due diligence as a divorce attorney yet, you want to be able to balance what your client can afford to prosecute their divorce, and also pay for your legal services. The most critical period can be before the divorce is filed when one spouse starts to hide or mask assets.
Doing an asset search can provide a snapshot of assets, liabilities, business interest and recent transfers of your subject and should be conducted at the outset of the discovery process since it is one of the most expensive and time-consuming stages in a complex divorce. The more detailed and specific you can draft certain interrogatories, document requests, request for admissions or subpoenas, the better off your client will be, using the information gained from an asset search report. It can also be a cure for the opposing spouse’s “partial” loss of memory.
Deceitful spouses can go to great lengths to hide assets during a divorce, sometimes depositing assets with third parties or creating trusts and custodial accounts on behalf of others. An asset search can uncover both tangible assets (such as real estate, motor vehicles, boats, planes patents and trademarks), and intangible assets like business interests, shell corporations, privately owned companies and more.
Therefore, a good first step to obtain a deeper understanding of a parties’ assets and liabilities, and to satisfy your due diligence as an attorney, is to conduct an asset search. At Asset Searches Plus, Inc. (www.assetsearchesplus.com ), for example, the cost of an individual asset search is usually less than $ 200 and the turnaround time is only a few days. All that is normally needed to conduct a search is the subjects name and last known address. The report is then emailed to the attorney to share with their client.