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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27692
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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Why would a divorcing spouse who is dragging out a divorce

Customer Question

why would a divorcing spouse who is dragging out a divorce (2 1/2 years now) at tremendous cost to the husband, who has been disabled and without income for over a year. All of a sudden ask the divorcing husband his permission to set up a separate living trust for herself.?..what trouble can the disabled husband end up in? Can she hide monies in it that are still up for discussion? He has filed for bifercation and has made a new will. Why can't she do the same. Will he lose negotiating power if he signs a paper her attorney is demanding? They are in mediation, not court and it is contentious....she has done everything in her power to destroy him financially when he wouldn't take her back after her third known affair.. His attorney, who he has little faith in, is saying it is not a problem, but it sounds fishy. His attorney has been milking him and getting no where for two years.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

A living trust means that she gets the money even if he dies, because money placed into the trust belongs to the trust, not the husband. Changes to the will do not affect a living trust, but a trust document can be changed. It's primarily going to be an issue if the husband is depositing the money into the trust or the wife is putting community property into the trust and the documents don't have a clause stating that this money is an ADVANCE on the community property statement, and that the wife is going this money AS PART OF the divorce settlement, not in addition to. It's possible that her plan is to claim that all the money put into the trust is a gift and that she still gets half of what's left as community property.

Whether this request is a problem depends on the exact terms in the piece of paper he's being asked to sign. California law allows one spouse to give the other money, thereby giving up any right to those funds. The husband will lose the ability to negotiate as to those funds, so typically a person would only sign if the ownership of the property in question was undisputed, or if the wife wants to set up HER OWN living trust that she'll be putting money into it, and she's just asking that he agree to let it happen. If her plan is to establish the trust with funds agreed to be her separate property, then signing the document shouldn't impact you at all. So it's necessary to be clear on where the money in the trust is coming from.

It's possible that she's trying to reduce her own tax liability for 2015, so if she recently came into money in the form of an inheritance or a big bonus or something, that could explain why she wants to sign the paperwork now as opposed to waiting until the divorce is finalized.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
She is also being asked to sign papers to allow him to file for the bifurcation, I thought a bifurcation was necessary to move this process along so I can get on with my life. Do I need her permission for the bifurcation? I was told it would make no difference to the outcome of the property settlement. She has controlled the money in the marriage for 33 years and took money at her will from an inheritance that was mine. I trusted and didn't find this out until after the separation. Do I really need her permission to bifurcate? Can I anticipate that she can hold me hostage unless I agree to her trust? Cause, frankly, she is a compulsive liar and thief and I don't trust that she won't move contested funds. I am pretty sure we will end up in superior court about some of the issues...I just want to move on
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have to be at mediation at 9 am this am...so need a quick clarification
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry for the delay. I had some connection problems yesterday due to holiday travel and wasn't able to get your response until today.

Do you still need help with this?