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Does an ex-husband have access to your trust fund?

Many wealthy St. Charles residents have a trust fund that was set up for them by a generous relative. These funds were generally created for the specific person and not for their spouses. But, in a complex divorce situation, can an ex-spouse lay claim to any of that trust fund?

When a couple is married, the last thing they expect is that their marriage will end in divorce. Most people believe their marriages will stand the test of time and last forever. But, for a large percentage of marriages, divorce does happen. When a divorce is imminent, it is a stressful and emotional time. If a person has a trust fund, she may worry that her ex-spouse will get a portion of it. Generally speaking, only marital property is divided in a divorce settlement. Things that can be considered separate property may include: property owned by a spouse before the marriage, inheritances, gifts from a third party, anything designated as separate property in a prenuptial agreement, and payments for pain and suffering from personal injury lawsuits.

A trust needs to have terms that specifically state that the funds are not considered marital property or be used to calculate alimony. Trust money should not have been mixed with marital money and purchases made with the money should not be joint purchases. If the terms of the trust are vague, it can mean that an ex-spouse may have access to it in a divorce.

Those who are going through a divorce may wish to consider having an attorney on their side who is skilled in high asset divorces. It can be hard for a person to picture a life without her spouse in it, but an attorney can help make sure the client's future is protected.

Source: forbes.com, "Can your ex-husband benefit from the trust your parents established for you?", Jeff Landers, Feb. 6, 2017

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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