Pension on divorce - what difference does adultery make?

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by ComeSunt, Feb 18, 2012.

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  1. Hi,

    Wife just left me. she's been playing away, but I'm still willing to give it a go.

    If we do split full time, then we'll need to divorce...

    We've kept her straying quiet so far. If I file for divorce then can anyone please let me know what difference it will make to the division of the pension if I go for one on the grounds of adultery?

    Many thanks,

  2. A very big difference according toa solicitor I once spoke with.
  3. A judge will decide if you and the Missus can't sort it; think long term though - it may still be raw now and you indicated you wanted to give it a go but in 10-15 years you will feel different. It is in your interest to file for divorce on the grounds of her adultery it will affect the pension division. As an aside my wife chucked me out as she wanted to return to Germany and it wasn't possible to get posted back at the time. I did nothing wrong and she got 40% - look after yourself. If you have children you will do the right thing by them in any event. Good luck.
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  4. Doesn't work. Trust me, this way only leads to much angst. Get a solicitor, get rid of her.

    (My ex's parents couldn't quite believe what their daughter was capable of. Rather than rely on the ALS, I used my family Solicitor who, quite by chance, employed my then sister-in-law as his typist).
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  5. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    Guilt or otherwise shouldn't affect the financial settlement. Financial Need should.

    Get a lawyer who specialises in Family Matters (there are lists published), not just 'any old lawyer on the high street'.
  6. Thanks for replies so far...

    Situation is this:

    If we split up (most likely option), then I see divorce is the only way to give us a clean break.
    Got two kids so need to keep things as amicable as possible.

    Don't want to "shame her" but adultery will mean a quicker divorce (why put it off?), but don't want to sour the relationship more than we have to, for the sake of the children.

    Been married for 2/3 of my colour service (22 done and now on extended service) so I believe that she'll be entitled to 1/3 of my pension.

    Can anyone pse give rough idea of what it may be if I file for divorce due to adultery?

    I will see a solicitor soon, but currently sat at home in house with nothing to do except make some CoAs...


  7. Boldnotold

    Boldnotold LE Book Reviewer

    I'm no lawyer, but the marriage will be ended due to adultery AFTER the financial settlement is agreed, with the children's needs put first. Guilt/reason for ending the marriage should not form part of the financial settlement.

    You do need to talk to a Family Lawyer, to get the current legal position and have it set in the context of your own circumstances.
  8. I'm no lawyer but have been divorced - twice! Guilt or otherwise has no real bearing on the divorce settlement these days. The only circumstances likely to influence any decisions by a judge are where there has been any violence in the marriage. If you divorce quickly without a full court hearing only the very determined are likely to find out what the alleged grounds were so it really is down to you and your partner to decide what they are prepared to accept.

    As someone else stated the financial settlement will be based on need, especially where there are children or one of you has special needs such as a medical condition. But be aware that the start point for the division of marital assets (including your army pension pot - which will have a value calculated even though it doesn't really exist - in my case after 23 years this formed the bulk of our joint assets), is usually 50/50, after that it is down to negotiation.

    I think there are counselling/arbitration services available now to help you sort this kind of thing out amicably, or as amicably as possible.

    There were if I recall correctly 3 stages to the proceedings: Informally in judge’s chambers, formally in chambers, then if necessary a full hearing. My solicitor advised me to settle before the full hearing as court costs are expensive. This involved a lot of letters and negotiation with the ex, but be careful what you offer as it can be held against you later if proceedings drag on. Also be aware under pension sharing rules now in force (if you go down that route) you will not get back any share awarded to your ex even if she remarries or dies.

    Do get legal advice; the first 30 minutes are free, try and finder a solicitor who specialises in divorce. The Citizens Advice Bureau can assist with basic stuff and there is lots of information on the internet.

    I took legal advice, but represented myself (using the advice and guidelines provided by my solicitor) at the informal and formal meetings with the judge (at the latter my wife had a solicitor and barrister present, expensive for her but ultimately a waste of money - daunting for me, but I survived). We settled out of court.

    Good luck, try to keep in business like rather than personal, not easy and it can get quite bitter and emotional but hey, life’s a bitch, then you marry one!!!
  9. I've dealt with quite a few divorce cases as a 'financial neutral'. The pension is viewed as much as an 'asset' as everything else you put in your Form E. I've not yet come across a case where a pension is viewed differently because of adultery, although adultery is often the cause of the divorce in the first place.
  10. You can't get a divorce on the grounds of adultery - the only grounds for divorce is "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage". You can use your wife's adultery to demonstrate that the marriage has broken down, but if you try to make a go of things, then in the eyes of the law, you may be seen as having condoned the adultery (depending on timescales and circumstances) and it cannot then be used as a reason why a marriage has ended. Also, if you leave it too long, she could sue for divorce first using separation.

    What you need to do is firstly make a decision, has the marriage failed. If "no", then shut up and put up; if "not sure", don't take too long to make a decision; if "yes", then find yourself a good lawyer who specialises in family law, as stated by others. In any case, a good first port of call is some form of marriage guidance counselling (such as Relate), you don't need to go as a couple, and they will help you get your head in the right place.
  11. Boldnotold, 2old4thisshit and Joe Private have it about right.

    Divorce is granted where your marriage has irretrievably broken down for one of 5 possible reasons: adultery, 2 years separation (if you both consent to the divorce), 5 years separation (if one of you does not consent, desertion and "unreasonable behaviour". Unreasonable behaviour is often viewed as the catch all (like s69 of the Army Act 1955). If you can't get it under any of the others you can bung it under this one. It makes no difference which head you put it under - the divorce is no quicker or slower either way.

    "Fault" (including adultery) does not make a difference to the financial settlement unless one party's conduct is so grave and serious, and has such a financial effect, that it would be inequitable for the court to ignore it. In reality these cases are very rare.

    The factors that the court must consider are contained in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1989 (which you can google). The court will look to see what resources there are available (liquid capital, other capital including pensions, and income (or sometimes earning capacity) and it will look to see what the parties' needs are. It must try to match the resources to the needs - not rocket science. The needs of any children will always be the first consideration of the court. There are other factors to consider, but where it is proving difficult to meet the needs from the available resources the only extra factor that really counts for much is usually the needs of any children.

    The court will always have an eye on what is described as "the yardstick of equality" to make sure that both parties are receiving equally fair consideration (but not necessarily equal amounts in the settlement).

    As far as your pension is concerned, if you acrued part of it outside of the marriage you would hope to have that part of it excluded from the overall settlement - although that is not necessarily guaranteed, depending on the circumstances of the case.

    You need to see a family lawyer if you are going to go your separate ways. It will cost you, but it may well cost you a lot more if you don't.
  12. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    Get a pensions valuation and see what you've got. Take a transfer stick it in a QROPS and tell the court to **** off as its outside their jurisdiction. Just a thought.
  13. ComeSunt,

    I was in a very similar situation to you.

    2/3 of career etc and adulterous wife. I wanted it over with quickly and got her to divorce me on grounds of unreasonable behaviour which I admitted to.

    We did a financial agreement out of court where I gave her half my lump sum in return for her agreeing not to touch my pension.

    Because we did it in an almost amicable fashion the fees were kept to a minimum, she got legal aid and I had to pay for two solicitors letters. The difficult part was agreeing how much maintenance to pay and I have to admit now that at the time I agreed to pay more than I should. That said I got decree absolute within 5 months and was able to get back to living a life.

    Should you not be able to come to an agreement her adultery will make no difference whatsoever to any financial settlement because the needs of the sprogs are all they care about.

    Hope this Helps


    Edited to add As far as the pension/lump sum thing goes I have now been out of the Army just 7 years and have already recieved more extra pension than the aditional lump sum I gave away.
  14. Although you should beware of executing transfers of assets that the court may consider to be done with a view to safeguarding your assets in order to keep them out of the "pot" when the court comes to divvy things up. Section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 gives the court the power to undo any such transaction. It would bang you for the court costs of doing so and thereafter not believe a word of anything you said, so it may not be that simple.

    See a lawyer!
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  15. BiscuitsAB

    BiscuitsAB LE Moderator

    So they the court are going to tell a non UK country to send the money back then?

    and lawyers are *****.