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Shillington, Pennsylvania Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

A billionaire moves his money before a divorce

Posted by Rob Levengood | May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

A Pennsylvania divorce will involve a division of the marital estate to give each spouse their share that has either been agreed upon or ordered by the court. However, when one spouse under-reports property by decreasing the valuation or even moving it out of the marital estate, the other spouse ends up shortchanged. In some cases, wealthy spouses may even be able to do this legally.

Many people have associated Switzerland with the place where the rich move their money to shield it. Most would never think of South Dakota as an international center of money and assets. However, thanks to the state's trust-friendly laws, the ultra-wealthy are moving hundreds of billions of dollars to the state. This is exactly what one Texas billionaire did, presumably to keep it from his wife in a divorce.

The man and his wife were among the wealthiest couples in Houston with many properties and an extensive art collection. However, when it came time to divide the marital estate, the wife was shocked to learn that her husband had moved nearly all of their assets to South Dakota prior to the divorce. While she is suing her husband for what he did, there is a chance that she may end up with next to nothing from their fortune. The state's laws make money held there in trusts virtually impossible to reach, and that is exactly why billionaires keep their money there.

A person who suspects that their spouse is hiding or under-reporting assets may consult with a divorce lawyer. The lawyer may aggressively pursue information in discovery so that they can follow the money trail. While spouses can take intricate steps to hide money, a determined attorney might be able to figure out where the money has been moved. The lawyer may then try to get their client a rightful share of the estate.

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Rob Levengood



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