Divorce often brings out the defensive instinct. "It's mine, hands off!" is a common retort amongst parting spouses.
For the most part, it will be obvious that a particular asset belongs to one of the spouses: for example, the family home (in either party's or in joint names) will invariably form part of the family assets which a court may then be asked to divide between the parties.
But in the less public world of trust law, whether the monies held in a trust "belong" to a spouse can be the subject of fierce debate. Divorcing parties may hold entirely different views about how to treat trust funds: one party saying that the trust monies should be poured into the matrimonial pot for division, the other saying that the trust as a separate entity should remain untouched.
Many trusts contain considerable sums of money and so the way in which they are treated by the family courts and divorcing parties can significantly impact the level of resources potentially deemed available for division upon divorce.