Pensions and Divorce Myths

Myth

“I’m not entitled to her pension as she had it before we were married.”

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Assuming it wasn’t a very short marriage, normally who owned what before the marriage is largely irrelevant. A court will try to make what it considers to be a fair arrangement given the facts and relative needs now. Both parties’ pensions will be considered as a part of that.

Myth

“My wife and I have been married for only one year but she has been told that she is already entitled to half my pension.”

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When considering assets like this on divorce, whilst you will normally start from a central dividing point, equality can be departed from after all aspects have been looked at. A short marriage is one of the factors that can justify an unequal division, along with other issues such as disparity in incomes, earning potential and the ages of the two parties. A court will look at the length of the marriage when considering the financial settlement, but can also take into account pre-marriage cohabitation in certain circumstances

Myth

“As a wife if I get 50% of my husband’s pension it is a fair pay-off.”

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This is not necessarily the case. As a woman, you are more likely to live longer and are more likely to be younger than your husband, statistics suggest. To receive the same pension income as your husband you may need – and be entitled to – more than 50% just to be fair.

Myth

“A husband’s pension is his for always and cannot be shared on divorce.”

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A pension can be a considerable financial asset, often second only to the family home. Any pensions held by a husband or wife should be considered when a financial settlement is being agreed. Pensions can be shared in a number of different ways in a divorce and specialist legal and financial advice should be taken so that you understand your options.