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Spousal maintenance

Posted by Tiredretired 
Spousal maintenance
March 01, 2021 02:15PM
Planning on divorcing on grounds of unreasonable behaviour

We have healthy assets in form of saving/ investment and property due to inheritances. Split 50:50 it is enough for us each to buy a say 2-3 bed home outright ( no mortgages), keep healthy savings and pay for divorce costs and costs associated with setting us both in our new life. So far no problems

We are both retired. He has his state pension, an uncrystalised pension pot and a number of defined benefit occupational pensions. If he crystallised that pension as a draw down, in total he would have a pension income of around £17k after tax per year.

My pension is higher- I currently receive around £26k per annum but am not eligible for state pension for another 9 years.

The reason his pension is lower is that he choose to not work for long periods of our marriage. It was not something we agreed on. He was not providing childcare or supporting my career. He took many actions, or failed to take actions that sabotaged his work including being fired for gross misconduct. I had to step up to be the sole breadwinner to stop us going into dept and support our family including our 2 children (they’re no longer dependants). Some of this was influenced by undiagnosed mental health problems. He was eventually diagnosed with psychotic illness in 2009 at the age of 54, but had last been employed in 2002.

The unreasonable grounds are that he had chosen to stop taking with his medication despite it being prescribed as essential for him by his psychiatrist and the mental health team. It is untenable for us to live together in this situation due to the symptoms and my safety/ well-being.

My question is, how likely is it that he would be awarded spousal maintenance and that I’d be burdened with having to continue to support him for the rest of our lives. My thinking is that he has enough pension to meet his “needs”. His pension is now about 40% of what I used to earn net tax to support a family of 4. He will have very healthy savings form the 50:50 asset split which simply did not exist 5 years ago. In other words he will be better off than through much of the time when he was working age, but clearly worse off than me going forwards or us together if we had not divorced.

I’d also add, although I’m petitioning for the divorce, He knew when he chose to stop taking the meds that we could not continue to live together, in effect he has forced this situation on me.
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 01, 2021 05:10PM
I don't think there is any question of you paying spousal maintenance as part of any final settlement. Having said that, I think you fundamentally misunderstand the position. You seem to assume that capital assets will be divided equally but that pensions will remain as they are. That latter assumption is almost certainly wrong. This is a long marriage, you are both retired and there are no dependent children. There is no good reason why there should not be a pension sharing order in your husband's favour that equalises your respective pension incomes. I am afraid it is no argument at all to say that this should not happen because in your opinion your husband could have built up better pension provision but did not do so for one reason or another. For what it is worth the reason for the divorce has no effect whatever on the financial outcome.
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 02, 2021 07:14AM
Thanks for the response

So, if the pension has to be shared

1. How is this done if not through spousal maintenance? That is why I was assuming this if pension have to be equalised as all my pension was defined benefit..there is no “ pot” I have that can be split

2. Is there no argument that in splitting assets and pensions he then ends up much more asset rich than me ( to provide cash to generate this differential would require £75k-100k. In effect he is coming out better off now based on an assumption of how much future income I will be paid through my pension- this is money I don’t yet have
Eg if I die in next 5 years my pension stops. His pensions continue, yet I am being penalised to pay that pot assuming I would have that pension income for the rest of his life if it wasn’t equalised

As I say, there was never a personal pot as such for my pension- I only have a “pension” in terms of retrospective pension earnings.
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 02, 2021 07:29AM
Put it another way...if we were both still working and had equal pension pots, no children but I earn more, would a court insist that I pay him sums to equalise our income in terms of earnings for the rest of my life?
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 02, 2021 09:10AM
Confusion is being piled upon confusion here. In your first post you said,

>>My pension is higher- I currently receive around £26k per annum<<

You currently receive. If you receive a pension of that amount that pension will have a transfer value that is capable of being divided.

Now you say,

>>I only have a “pension” in terms of retrospective pension earnings.<<

Quite what this sort of thing means I really don't know. I can't make head or tail of your meaning.
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 02, 2021 10:38AM
. I came onto this forum looking for some help and merely asked question to help me understand. You only needed to have said it would have to be a transfer form my pension fund itself which I was not aware could be done once I was taking my pension. However, you have made it clear that you think I am confused and a blithering idiot. If this sort of response makes you feel superior then good for you. I will leave this thread and forum and delete my account

Good day
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 02, 2021 12:58PM
Seems some people get upset when they don't get the answer they want to hear. winking smiley
Re: Spousal maintenance
March 03, 2021 07:00AM
Regardless as to if you have a defined benefit pension with no pot, a value can be put on that, so say it is going to pay you £10k per year and the value attributed to that is £100k (I’m using simple figures here which in no way relate to real world valuations) then a court may decide to award him £20k to equalise the pots as it were, you would then get an £8k pension. That is in really simplistic terms but a value can be calculated by the pension company.

If your pension is in payment to, say £26k and a court orders a pension sharing then that can also be done. Depending on the company it might be that your payment would be reduced to £20k and they will pay him £6k, or they may make a lump sum payment to another pension provider to a plan in his name. Either way it can be done.

You seem to think that because he chose not to work he should be penalised for it, not you, but it does work both ways when a wife chooses not to work, she is not penalised. You were obviously happy to go along with it at the time, what’s changed now that you are getting divorced.

Please don’t be rude to David, he is providing a FREE service here that has helped countess people,over the years, he says it like it is, you might not like what he says but he certainly manages people’s expectations of what the world of divorce is like in reality.
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