Spouses in Illinois must make a full accounting of their assets when they are getting divorced. Sometimes, a spouse will try to move assets out of accounts or stash them somewhere that may be difficult to trace. One state may even give spouses the ability to hide assets in plain view where they are difficult or impossible to reach.
South Dakota law has allowed for the creation of asset trusts in the state. These trusts are so impenetrable that even foreign tycoons reportedly move their money to South Dakota to shield it from their own governments. One Texas billionaire, who made his fortune in quantitative trading, moved nearly all of his assets to South Dakota. Then, he secretly switched the beneficiary of the trusts to someone other than his wife. However, state law did not require him to inform his wife of the fact.
While his wife has been able to find the South Dakota trusts, she has been unsuccessful in obtaining her share of them since the money is not beneficially owned by her husband. She has spent millions of dollars trying to track down and access this money but to no avail. Even if the wife is successful locating all the hidden assets, she may not be able to reach the trusts in South Dakota.
In a divorce where there is a lot of property at stake, there is always a risk that one spouse may try to move assets away from the marital estate. In that case, a person may ask a family law lawyer to try to track down the money and persuade the court to award it to their client. Finding assets that are hidden requires some investigation and the ability to follow a money trail that is not always apparent.