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Low cost asset search photoMy last 2 posts discussed asset recovery tools such as recognizing red flags & using compelled consent forms.  Assets might also be recovered as a consequence of researching public records.  This 18th post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series focuses on how one can perform a low-cost asset search by digging through public records/databases:¹

I.  Real Estate Searches

Some government databases provide free real property searches, like New York City’s Automated City Register System (“ACRIS”).  ACRIS supplies searches about real property owners in New York City by a party’s name, parcel identifiers (such as borough, block and lot numbers), etc.

II.  Lawsuits

A divorcing spouse’s assets held in the form of personal injury or other type of legal claim, (if any), can sometimes be uncovered via court databases.  Although limited to New York State courts, eCourts is a free database.  After signing up for an access code, PACER enables one to conduct searches of federal courts nationwide.

III.  Corporate & U.C.C. Searches

Free government websites including New York’s http://www.dos.state.ny.us/corps/ may provide ownership or other useful information about duly licensed New York businesses/corporations.

IV.  United States Patent & Trademark Office

Patents and trademarks can be researched for free at http://www.uspto.gov/patft/.

V.  Comprehensive Searches

LexisNexis offers “SmartLinx” which is a fee-based service for attorneys, government authorities, etc.  It can be used to search domestic public records.  Records regarding real property, motor vehicles, telephone numbers, can often be accessed.

 

¹The instant post contains material courtesy of  L.L. Jones, Concealing Assets In Bankruptcy: What Are the Consequences And How Do Trustees Find The Assets?, Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Presentation: April 24, 2008).

Image courtesy of Flickr (Licensed) by Images Money

Copyright 2008-2017 Fred L. Abrams

  • Thanks for the interesting article and hidden money! I have heard many stories about spouses hiding money from their wife or husband. It is hard to believe when I hear them but I almost feel like this investigation should take place before marriage. Either way, hopefully the truth comes out.
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