How do you go about looking for assets if the parties are not 100 percent honest about what they own? Do you look at public records? What tools do you use?
Tax returns are the best place to start, and I'll give you an example of a fun little trick.
If somebody earned $1,100 in interest off their savings account at the bank, they've had a lot of money in that bank account. So when they show that they have no money and they make $2,000 a month when previously they were making, oh, $300,000 a year, and writing off another $750,000 in personal expenses from their corporation ...
When you look at this little line item and it shows $1,100 in interest, where did that money go? They took it out and did something with it.
Another little place -- you have to own a certain amount of a company to take a loss, and if they have not declared that they own the business, there is one teeny, tiny box where their accountant will write it off. They will either do a depreciation or a loss.
Most people who don't understand tax returns, they're not going to notice that their accountant has done that. But it's a nifty little spot to look for.
There are some really cool databases that you have to be a private investigator or a police officer to access, so it would really behoove you to spend a hundred bucks to hire a private investigator to log in and put in the name and Social (Security number) in there and see what comes up.
On one guy who claimed to be poor, I found a multimillion dollar home in Florida, a multimillion dollar home in Hawaii and a private jet -- in four minutes.
That is the secret database. It costs $4,000 a year and you have to be police or a licensed private investigator to have access.
Trust me, the wife was happy.
Without hiring someone like you, a forensic accountant or a private investigator for that matter, how could women -- or men -- make sure that their future husband -- or wife -- is being honest with them about finances?
Communication. Laying yourself bare in front of them and then they do the same in front of you.
If you suspect that they are not being honest with you, why are you marrying them?
That would be something to really think about. If you have those kinds of reservations prior to saying, "I do," you should not be marrying that person.
So what I would do is start the conversation by saying that ID theft is a big thing and I would like to pull our credit reports. Discuss them with each other and see where we're at and create a plan to get where we want to go.
It just leads to conversation and that will lead to good things. You need to have an understanding about your money values and your beliefs about money.
A lot of times people go into a marriage not knowing that their partner has terrible credit. Should this be a deal breaker when it comes to marriage or can partners work through that?It depends on the nature of the bad credit. If you are talking about a serial defaulter who cannot handle credit, who buys something and it gets repossessed, flakes on a credit card, you have to look at the behavior. That is what you're marrying.
A lot of people, when they get divorced, their credit goes in the toilet. I've helped many people repair their credit from that. It's not difficult.