Hiding assets is always a concern in a Minnesota divorce as one spouse may look to game the system to shift property out of the marital estate. Courts look at this with extreme disfavor and will often punish the spouse responsible for such behavior. However, very wealthy spouses can seemingly get away with this type of behavior when they take advantage of the laws of one state.
A Texas billionaire did exactly this by setting up trusts that are completely legal in South Dakota. The state has become known as a haven for assets coming from out of the state as well as the country. There are estimates that there could be close to $1 trillion of property in these trusts. For the wealthy, state law makes these trusts completely secret and virtually untouchable.
This is what the billionaire’s wife has learned the hard way after her husband sent her a letter informing her of their divorce. Her husband reduced the size of the marital estate from several billion dollars to around $12 million with a series of transactions that moved the property out of his name. The wife has spent several years in a fruitless quest to reach these assets. However, she is running up against the realities of South Dakota law. While she has an upcoming trial, her odds of claiming her share of the assets may be long.
Spouses going through the end of their marriage may need a family law attorney on their side to help them obtain their share of the marital estate. Especially if there are many assets, a person needs to know that the accounting that their spouse gives is correct. An attorney may be able to detect patterns of suspicious transactions that signal they have been moving money out of the marital estate to escape division.