Increasingly on divorce (and the same principles are likely to apply on the dissolution of civil partnerships) the court is interested in ascertaining what has been described as the 'marital acquest', that is, the assets accumulated by the parties during their marriage. Additionally, the source of particular assets can often be of crucial significance in deciding who will get them or how they will be split, especially where there is a surplus of financial resources over financial needs. Family trusts can, at the very least, readily demonstrate the source of family wealth and avoid an intermingling of assets which might later be exploited on a divorce.
Trust interests are certainly not 'bullet proof' against the onslaught of marauding family lawyers. Invariably it is necessary to examine closely the terms of the trust deed, the circumstances in which the trust was established, the wording of any letters of wishes, and the distribution policy adopted by the trustees. A well-crafted trust arrangement, entered into sooner rather than later, can nonetheless provide an important layer of protection, especially if care is taken to avoid the settlement acquiring a 'nuptial' element which might leave it open to variation by the divorce courts.