Do you have a right to your partner’s pension in a divorce?
We’ve all heard that divorce is less expensive if both parties agree, but this is only true if those involved agree not just on the decision to end their marriage but how to divide their assets, too.
Dividing assets is a difficult task. Tensions are high and already tender egos have put people on the defensive. Combine this with the fact that the outcome of these discussions will have a substantial effect on the participant’s quality of life and it’s clear to see why these negotiations are so often held in the most negative of atmospheres.
Something that makes this process even more problematic is the fact that it’s unclear whether certain assets should be shared. Anything that was earnt exclusively by one party is – in theory, at least – their property alone. What is difficult here, however, is proving that these assets have been gained entirely because of one person’s efforts. This would lead most people to conclude that they have no claim to their husband/wife’s pension. These people are wrong, however, and it’s a mistake that regularly results in people losing out on money to which they have a more than reasonable claim.
Why it’s reasonable to claim part of your partner’s pension
Any assets that either spouse accrues throughout the course of their marriage are considered to have been gathered due to the efforts of both parties. This may seem unfair but consider Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos. He started the online retail giant whilst married and its value has consistently grown. Is it not reasonable to argue that he would have been unable to dedicate time to building Amazon into the giant it has become if not for his wife? Maybe he would and if he – or, more accurately, his legal team – where able to put forward a strong argument that this was the case, his wife would be entitled to a significantly smaller settlement. The fact remains, however, that it is presumed that both people contributed to the other’s success and that this will always be the starting point during negotiations.
So, you do have a right to a share of your spouse’s pension; any part of it that they’ve earned since they’ve been married to you, at least. Many people that negotiate their own settlements are unaware of this and it results in them dividing their assets in a way that is unfavourable to them.
If you’re unsure of your divorce settlement, get the advice of a divorce solicitor
If you’re in any way unsure of whether an agreement you and your spouse have reached is fair or, even worse, won’t be able to sustain you post-divorce, you need to seek legal advice. It may be more expensive initially, but it’ll be an investment worth making.
If you’re lucky enough to have reached an agreement you’re happy with – get in touch with Quickie Divorce to find out how we can help you make this legally binding and get you divorced today!