South Dakota is a haven for hidden assets

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2020 | Divorce |

Florida divorces sometimes feature the unfortunate reality that one spouse is trying to hide assets to keep them from being subject to division. Now, the laws of one state in the United States are making it harder for spouses to achieve their share of marital assets. This is what is happening in one billionaire divorce.

The husband made his fortune in quantitative trading. He moved much of that fortune to trusts that are domiciled in South Dakota. The state has laws that aim to protect trusts and draw them to the state. Presumably, the state earns revenue from trusts that are formed there. South Dakota reportedly draws money domestically and from overseas tycoons who want to hide money from their own governments.

The billionaire’s wife has tried to reach the money held in trusts in South Dakota and has been unable to thus far. She can barely even learn about the trusts because the state’s privacy laws are so extreme that they guarantee almost absolute secrecy. Now, she may receive her share of a marital estate that is being valued at only $12 million although the couple lived a billionaire lifestyle before her husband filed for divorce by registered mail. While this is an extreme case, some spouses face this type of risk in a divorce, even on a smaller scale.

When a spouse is hiding assets, the property may be located through discovery and investigation. A family law attorney might know the telltale signs that assets are being shielded and then fight in court to learn more information about this property. In general, courts do not like it when one spouse tries to hide assets from the other and may try to punish the spouse who is engaging in the deception in order to enrich themselves.