Chester 01244 405 555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester


Shrewsbury 01743 443043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

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Airport City, Manchester 0161 537 3324

Offices 204 and 205
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Divorce & Trusts

When considering the division of assets and financial claims on divorce, the court looks at all the circumstances of the case, including “…the income, earning capacity, property and other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future…” This can include trusts.

In certain circumstances, the court has the power to vary the terms of a trust to make financial provision for one of the married couple or for the children of the family. To do this, the court must be satisfied that the trust is a ‘nuptial settlement’ – either ante-nuptial or post-nuptial.

The question of whether a trust is a nuptial settlement is often extremely complicated.  Broadly speaking, a trust is a nuptial trust if its existence is for the benefit of one or both of the married couple and if it was created because of, or with reference to, the marriage. The application of this definition can be complex in practice, particularly when a trust has a long history.

Even if the court takes the view that a trust is not a nuptial one, it can still take the existence and value of the trust into account when allocating the matrimonial pot. In this way, an adjustment can be made to the non-trust assets to reflect the fact that the assets within the trust cannot be altered. This is known as ‘offsetting’.

The treatment of trusts can be a major factor in cases with significant trust assets at stake. Our team of highly experienced family law solicitors in Chester and Shrewsbury can offer advice on all aspects of trusts, be it the creation of trusts, protecting pre-acquired or inherited wealth through pre-nuptial agreements or advising you at the point of marital breakdown. We can also advise you if you’re a trustee who has been joined in the divorce proceedings or served with a list of questions to help with the divorce process.

In addition, for more complex trust issues, we can call on the substantial expertise of our Wills, Trusts and Tax team for further specialist advice.

Richard Barge Richard Barge

Partner & Head of Family Law
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 455371

Lorraine Saunders

Family Law Partner
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 455304

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