Q: My ex-husband and I divorced amicably over ten years ago after twenty eight years of marriage. Our children had grown up and neither of us has ever remarried. When we divorced my husband said he would see me alright out of his pension if I was on my own when we got old, but there was no formal arrangement.
Whilst he is a successful company director I now struggle to make ends meet and I have no money put away for my old age. Now we are both coming up to retirement, he is denying ever offering me any help. Is it too late to make a claim on his pension?
A: When couples divorce it is not uncommon for a wife who has given up work to raise children of the marriage to reasonably expect, and receive, a proportion of the husband’s pension. It is however less common for there not to have been a Financial Order put in place at the time of divorce.
A Financial Order sets out exactly what should happen to each party’s assets and income and makes those financial decisions legally binding - something that is advisable. Without a Financial Order in place it means one party can later make a claim on the other party’s assets to include pensions irrespective of the length of time that has lapsed since the Decree Absolute dissolving the marriage.
You will need to apply for a Pension Sharing Order so that the pension can be split and part of the benefits transferred to you. The Court can split pensions after retirement but the rules are different and therefore we would suggest you seek advice from a family law solicitor so that terms can be agreed and an Order be submitted to the Court.