North Carolina courts may react harshly when one spouse is discovered to have hidden assets from the other in a divorce. However, the court’s options may be limited when that spouse has done something completely legal in the eyes of one U.S. state. South Dakota’s laws are causing concerns that people may be hiding money in the state.
This is what one Texas billionaire did to prevent his wife from accessing money. The man, who founded a successful business when he was married to his wife, moved nearly all of his fortune to South Dakota. Originally, his wife was the beneficiary of the trusts he established. Then, he engaged in an affair and switched the beneficiary. South Dakota law did not require him to inform his wife.
Shortly after that, the man sent his wife a letter through registered mail informing her of his plans to seek a divorce. The wife, expecting that she would receive her share of a sizable marital estate, was disappointed to learn that she would be receiving virtually nothing since the money was moved to trusts that are untouchable. She has seemingly reached a dead end in her quest to maximize the money that she would receive. South Dakota asset trusts have emerged as a haven where people can engage in behavior similar to this billionaire, and there is not much that a court can do about it.
Working with a divorce attorney may be helpful when there are many assets in the marital estate. There is a real risk that a spouse may engage in behavior that can keep the other spouse from receiving the full amount due to them out of the marital estate. The attorney may be able to learn about where the money has gone after making requests for the information in discovery and following the money trail.