When your parents passed away, they set up a trust fund for you. It contains an incredible amount of wealth — enough that you never have to work again if you don’t want to. You do still run your own business because you like to stay busy and you have professional goals, but you enjoy the security that comes with knowing you could retire any time you want and get more than enough annually to live off of. It allows your family to live in an upscale neighborhood, take exciting vacations and really enjoy life without worry.

When your spouse asks for a divorce, they tell you that they want their portion of the trust fund. They’re really gotten used to this lifestyle. The actual money you earn as a couple would never support it, and they know it. Can they get that money in the divorce?

It depends on how the trust was written up, but this is one of the best ways to protect money from a divorce when done correctly. The trust can simply state that the money within the trust is not marital property. As the beneficiary, you then just have to avoid commingling any of that money by making joint purchases or putting it into joint accounts. This way, the money is clearly separate property that your spouse does not have any claim to and never has. They can claim a portion of your marital property when dividing assets, but that doesn’t include the trust.

These types of cases get very complex and contentious, so those involved need to understand their rights.