Dealing with finances during a divorce is never pleasant, and it can be even more challenging when there are living trusts (also sometimes called “revocable trusts”) to consider. Most people know the terms of their trust agreements, but sometimes issues arise that may cause confusion, especially if trusts were received during the marriage or contain funds for multiple parties. Divorce Options San Diego—paradigm-shattering professionals revolutionizing the divorce process with expert divorce mediation San Diego couples can rely on to create optimal customized divorce solutions—offer this advice on what you need to know about dividing a trust during divorce proceedings.
Determine Whether the Trust Is Communal or Separate Property
The laws surrounding divorces vary a little depending on which state you’re in, but generally, you only have to worry about dividing trusts between spouses if it’s considered communal or marital property. If the trust was established in one spouse’s name prior to a marriage, it’s personal property and is less likely to be transferred to an ex-partner. Trusts given as a gift to one partner during marriage are trickier. Though normally viewed as separate property, circumstances may make them into shared marital property.
Consider Whether the Trust Was Commingled with Marital Assets
Things get a lot less straightforward if the partner who didn’t own the trust has contributed funds to the trust. You may be able to show your spouse only deserves a small portion of the trust by showing receipts for funds contributed. However, without definitive records, the judge may consider the trust to be commingled with the rest of your marital assets. In this case, it may be divided between both partners.
Pay Attention to How the Trust Generates Funds
Keep in mind there’s a difference between trusts that just give funds to a person outright and funds that provide income from investments or property to a person. Partners may be able to claim rights to some of a person’s future income due to alimony, child support, or marital property laws. Usually, the partner who isn’t listed in the trust doesn’t have rights to the actual funds in the trust itself. However, he or she might have rights to get part of the income generated by the trust, such as interest from a bank or money made by investing trust funds.
How Are Shared Trusts Divided?
If the trust is considered marital property, it will be divided between both partners. In states with community property laws, all marital property is split in half between both spouses. In states with equitable distribution laws, marital property is divided into portions a judge deems fair. This may be equal portions, or one partner may get a larger portion if the other was at fault in the divorce, will have custody of children, or contributed more to the marriage.
If you, your spouse, or other family members need more detailed information about trusts, call on the experts at Divorce Options San Diego. Even if your divorce involves complicated financial issues such as trusts, it’s still not necessary to spend a lot of money on legal representation. All the financial, legal, psychological, and practical aspects of honorable, respectful divorce agreements can be managed by Divorce Options San Diego’s experienced, trustworthy divorce mediators. San Diego couples can rely on our specialized comprehensive process, which is so thorough they won’t need to hire attorneys. To learn how we can help you with every aspect of your divorce, call us today at (858) 281-2628.
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