Q: My husband left me last year for another woman. I stayed in the family home with our son who is seventeen and going to university this year. I stopped work when my son was born but recently managed to get a minimum wage job, working 16 hours a week, to maintain the mortgage payments as my husband stopped paying. As well as the salary from his current job my husband has received a fire service pension for the last five years, whilst I struggle to make ends meet. Am I entitled to any of his pension?
A: You have not said whether you are going through divorce but it seems likely to be the case at some stage. When that happens your solicitor should aim to ensure you get a fair share of the marital assets. The largest assets are usually equity in a marital home and any pensions. Account will be taken of your husband’s current and future pensions. Meanwhile it may be possible within divorce proceedings to obtain an Order for your husband to pay maintenance. In addition, you may be eligible to apply for child maintenance as despite being over 16 years of age your son is still in full time education. It depends, however, on your circumstances so it is important to seek independent legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.
You should be aware that legal aid is no longer available for the majority of divorce cases and you cannot apply to court to deal with financial or children matters without first attending a Mediation and Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to ascertain whether your case can be settled through mediation. Not all law firms provide a mediation service but many like ourselves do. We would encourage parties to consider utilising mediation to resolve the issues on a relationship breaking down.