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Do people realise they can lose half their pension when they divorce

(72 Posts)
Sys2ad2 Wed 16-Oct-19 10:45:07

If you get a divorce your partner is entitled to take half your pension. My husband is on a state pension I am on a private pension. If I want a divorce he told me he can claim half my private pension which would mean I would have to sell my house as it costs a lot to run and move into a very small property with my 3 old cats, and he would get half that . I have worked since I was 16 and built up my personal pension so I can live comfortably in my retirement. I have paid all the bills and mortgage and because of his failed businesses I had a huge mortgage to pay off the debt. We sold up and bought outright. Now because my mother and he don't get on I am in the middle stuck in a marriage I regret but cannot get out of if I want to stay here. I think the law should be changed to reflect personal finances and not allow someone to take half of something they have not contributed to.

Sys2ad2 Wed 16-Oct-19 10:45:53

please advise

MawB Wed 16-Oct-19 10:47:54

Given that you have paid off his business and personal debts it seems there is no justice.
Have you taken legal advice? Would formal separation without divorce get round the issue? flowers

H1954 Wed 16-Oct-19 10:54:31

My OH's EX was of the opinion that MY personal estate should be considered part of his financial statement declaration! We were not even a couple then, he was simply renting one of my properties at the established going rate though an agent but we knew each other through work colleagues and friends. What a gold digging bitch she turned out to be!

Daisymae Wed 16-Oct-19 11:08:46

Well while I fully sympathise, this is what equality means in the eyes of the law. Many women were left high and dry after long marriages when they had not been able to build a pension or other savings, so your situation maybe a result of the equality changes. I assume that you have taken legal advice?

Nonnie Wed 16-Oct-19 11:14:36

I don't know the law so strongly suggest you get specialist legal advice asap. If it were him with the money he would be doing just that.

Bibbity Wed 16-Oct-19 11:23:13

Sorry to hear about your troubles.
I found this on the .Gov website it gives a good idea on what to expect.

Nightsky2 Wed 16-Oct-19 11:25:29

You need the advice of a good solicitor, one who deals in divorce. Have one recommended, ideally by someone who’s gone through a divorce and was happy with the outcome. It is not an automatic 50/50 split as everything is taken into account.

FlexibleFriend Wed 16-Oct-19 11:50:38

It's not just half your pension you stand to lose but half your house too. Everything starts from a 50/50 split and is adjusted according to need. The fact you owned your house before marriage means nothing.

yggdrasil Wed 16-Oct-19 11:54:08

Or a mediator. My ex was adamant I wasn't going to have any share in his private pension, which is/was very generous.
So the mediators said I would get 80% of the house to even it up. I managed to borrow enough to pay him off. And when I downsized, I paid the loan off.
I wanted a clean break, which being dependent on his pension wouldn't have allowed. I haven't a clue how he is now.

Sys2ad2 Wed 16-Oct-19 11:54:12

Thanks for the advice but as many of you say it is an equality law. This is his second marriage and my first and I regret it everyday now, I only found out about the half pension when he told me in one of his rants (he is very controlling) I checked and it is true. I don't really want to pay a solicitor to be told the same but I may have to in order to see if there is anyway around this.

mcem Wed 16-Oct-19 12:03:54

Don't think I agree FF. The 50/50 split applies to assets acquired in the course of the marriage so in this case the house might well be exempt (though not so sure about the equity).
Pension pots however are different as cash paid into them would probably be acquired in the course of marriage and so would be included as joint assets.
BUT Sys2 you really do need professional advice and soon!

paddyann Wed 16-Oct-19 12:31:07

My husband has a friend in his 60's who has recently left his wife for another woman.His wife owned the house they lived in and he has been told he cant claim it.Scottish law may be different though.He's currently working every available hour to raise money to buy somewhere with his new partner.Get it checked ,it may be the same where you are

Davidhs Wed 16-Oct-19 12:50:15

You do need a solicitors advice, you need to do it discretely before you talk openly about divorce. Find out all you can about finances, yours, his, and joint and a solicitor will tell you the likely settlement. Doing this before divorce action may give you the chance to arrange your finances to your benefit.
I guess these days pensions than women accumulate often exceed their husbands, the law is even handed and can cause big disappointment on divorce.

lemongrove Wed 16-Oct-19 12:54:48

I echo what Davids says.

newnanny Wed 16-Oct-19 13:39:13

Flexible Friend is correct in a long marriage, which in law seems to be more than 10 years, everything both have is all put into melting pot and then shared equally as a starting point but can be adjusted if there are children involved. They do take into account what you go into a marriage with though so if you had already built up a large pension pot before you married and your husband had not then they might take this into account.

mcem Wed 16-Oct-19 17:15:20

Paddy I'm talking about Scotland.
Generally all assets acquired during the marriage are put together to be divided equally with room for manoeuvre. House, possessions, pension pots, savings and also debts are taken into account.
If one party for instance has a large inheritance before the marriage that probably will not be included. (Hence the need for pre-nups!)
In my case I kept the house (with mortgage) while ex kept his pension pot. I made no claims on his pension as I wanted a clean break. I paid off the mortgage and as he had a decent salary he was able to take on another mortgage. Reasonably civil and 20+ years later reasonably good friends!

M0nica Wed 16-Oct-19 18:02:23

Sys2ad2, I think you are being unduly pessimistic. How assets, fixed and income, are divided between a couple when they divorce, is meant to give parity to both parties, but how that is done varies from couple to couple and depends on a whole range of factors depending on how long you have been married, possibly how much each brought to the marriage and many other factors.

The only way to find out how a divorce will affect you financially is to visit a solicitor specialising in divorce, let him know what your and your husband's financial situation is, including the extent to which you paid off debts etc. You may find the situation is better than you think.

FlexibleFriend Wed 16-Oct-19 18:51:21

My house was owned outright by me long before my marriage to my ex and he claimed half, he got a quarter so I know I'm right.

paddyann Wed 16-Oct-19 18:54:07

My husbands friends wife owned the house for over 20 years before they married mcem .It was never changed to both names .I dont know if that makes a difference as I have had very little experience of divorce .When my daughter divorced her OH ,he had already messed up her finances so much that she had to declare herself bankrupt .

FlexibleFriend Wed 16-Oct-19 18:58:49

You can have a clean break and a portion of his pension as the pension unless already being paid out would be transferred as a lump sum from one pension pot to another.

mcem Wed 16-Oct-19 21:03:20

Divorce arrangements aren't always obvious to an outsider. My teenage DD was convinced her poor father came out of it with nothing while I got the house.
She had no idea about pension valuations etc.
People may not choose to divulge the details.

FlexibleFriend Wed 16-Oct-19 21:59:22

I'm happy to disclose, the house in my sole name was divided 3/4 to me and 1/4 to him . My two private pensions I kept completely, he kept one of his completely and one was split 50/50, I used the one that was split to buy him out of the house. I tried to say he could keep his pensions if I could keep the house but was told the house was too big for my needs so it had to be sold and if I refused they'd send in the bailiffs. I persuaded him to take the cash rather than wait for the house to sell which he did cos he was skint and needed the money asap.

Tangerine Wed 16-Oct-19 22:06:26

If you've been in a long marriage, I suspect that he can claim half your pension. As Daisymae said earlier, this is what equality means in the eyes of the law.

However, if it is a short marriage, things may be different.

As others have said, seek legal advice. Perhaps ask Citizens Advice.

Davidhs Thu 17-Oct-19 07:42:14

The point has been made that every case is different, and certainly a partners business assets will not always be taken into account, nor a house that was owned outright before the marriage.
What will figure highly is solicitors fees, a fiercely contested divorce agreement can be crippling, so try very hard to get a negotiated settlement.