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The role of asset trusts in one billionaire couple’s divorce

On Behalf of | May 29, 2020 | Family Law

In a divorce, individuals are supposed to be scrupulously honest about their finances for the purposes of property division. However, in some cases, people in Indiana who are going through a divorce may try to hide assets. This can be done on a large scale, as is the situation with one Texas billionaire couple.

The man filed for divorce in 2017 after the two had been married nearly 30 years. The woman was aware that he used offshore trusts for his business interests, but she did not realize that he had placed most of their property, which she estimated to have a value of more than $2 billion, in asset trusts in South Dakota. This included everything from personal items, such as tableware, to yachts, homes in Maine, an island in the Bahamas and more. Although he had originally named her as the beneficiary, he moved the property into new trusts for which she was not the beneficiary.

According to his attorneys, this property is not marital property. Instead, it belongs to the trust. His attorneys say their marital property totals $12 million. The woman has spent millions of dollars on legal bills and filed a lawsuit in 2018 claiming he created the trusts to prevent her from getting her rightful share of their property. However, COVID-19 led to a delay for the April hearing.

The discovery that a spouse is hiding assets is one issue that can significantly complicate a divorce. This does not need to involve asset trusts and billions. A person might take physical property to a friend’s house or empty out the couple’s shared checking account. Child custody issues can also make the divorce more complex, particularly if one parent believes the child is unsafe with the other parent. People in these situations may want to discuss their concerns with an attorney.

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