Divorce Decision: Trust Spendthrift Provisions

Divorce Decision: Trust Spendthrift Provisions

posted Aug 31, 2015, 12:47 PM by Michael Vosilla  

In a recently published decision, the Massachusetts Appeal’s Court reminded couples going though divorce that a spendthrift clause in a family trust does not guarantee that the trust assets are shielded from division during a beneficiary’s divorce. In the case at issue, the Appeal’s Court found ample justification for the Probate and Family Court judge’s decision to divide the husband’s share in the trust, including that the divorcing couple paid for marital expenses with trust distributions, and that the trustees ceased all distributions to the husband right before divorce proceedings began. The Appeal’s Court did not rule entirely in the wife’s favor however, because it concluded that although the trial judge was justified in dividing the trust assets, it was error to find the husband in contempt of court for not making the required payments, due to the absence of evidence that the husband could force the trustees to give him the money to make the payments.
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