Divorce and a matter of trust

19th January 2015 by

Family lawyers often have to sort out complex issues regarding assets, property and wealth for their clients once a divorce financial settlement is initiated and many issues regarding division of marital property can cause dispute.

However, there may be other financially-related issues for a couple who are separating or commencing divorce proceedings.

Trusts and divorce
One such financial matter which may become complicated by divorce is when trusts have been set up for children with both parents as trustees.

In a case publicised in 2011, a mother had set up a trust for her daughter to become payable once she turned 21. However, after the trust was put in place, the parents divorced and the company holding the trust would not pay out to the daughter without the signatures of both parents.

The mother did not wish to contact the father personally and requested that the company did not contact him either. Several solutions were put forward for the resolution of the issue, however, it took a lengthy period of time before changes to the trust were put in place and the daughter could gain access to her trust fund.

The mother felt that the trust-holding company had been unfair in its unwillingness to relinquish funds from the trust, yet under the trust’s terms when it was set up, the company was bound by law to obtain full signatory authorisation before paying out and was merely upholding the basic tenets of trust fund management.

Many people who set up a trust for their children, or enter into any financial commitment with a partner, will not automatically consider the consequences of a separation or divorce, and while many prospective spouses feel it is necessary to protect their pre-marital wealth by seeking the advice of family lawyer to help them draw up a pre-nuptial agreement, once married, couples may not think it necessary to apply the same thoughts to a trust.

A solicitor who draws up a trust agreement should ensure that both parents are fully aware of all implications if the marriage breaks down.

Financial advice from family lawyers at Healys
Family lawyers are often best-placed to advise on the consequences of divorce on the financial commitments of a couple and while the setting up of a trust should be overseen by an experienced financial advisor, when it comes to a divorce financial settlement an experienced family lawyer will be able to advise on issues relating to trusts so that any changes or amendments can be made in a timely manner.

There is always a financial aspect to every separation and divorce. When you marry someone you become legally responsible for financially maintaining them and any dependents of the marriage. So when you separate or divorce all financial implications must be considered.

It is always Healys’ aim to find a fair and cost-effective solution to divorce and to keep costs proportionate to the assets involved.

Healys’ family lawyers and divorce solicitors are experienced in successfully negotiating and drafting separation agreements and in making and defending divorce and finance claims on behalf of both husbands and wives.

When things are amicable we can help you keep it that way, and when things are tough we can help fight your corner.

For more information on the service we provide, please contact Catherine Taylor on 01273 669 124 or email catherine.taylor@healys.com for Brighton. For London please contact Jane Sanders on 020 7822 4107 or email jane.sanders@healys.com.