Can My Lazy Husband Take My Pension if We Divorce?

An illustration shows a torn photograph splitting a husband and wife in two pieces.

Adobe Inventory, Getty Photographs and Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Expensive Penny,

A pair, collectively 20 years however not likely a pair anymore, is collectively as a result of they’ll’t afford to break up. She retired after 30 years of hell from her employer and will get a pension. Each get Social Safety. Is he entitled to any of her pension when he did not earn it? 

Additionally, she bought HER home, used the cash to purchase a home for each of them, then they bought that home to purchase the one they at the moment stay in collectively, additionally utilizing a part of her retirement package deal to take action. He is by no means had any cash to place in and by no means had something to assist. She has all the time made more cash. 

Can she get again what she initially bought out of HER home when she bought it? Why would he get an equal share when she’s all the time paid extra for the whole lot? With out her having a home, they would not have the home they’re residing in now.


Expensive J.,

I’m assuming the “she” is you, Letter Author. Although I’ll do my greatest to elucidate how property division works in divorce, you may have two primary choices. You may schedule an appointment with a divorce lawyer to debate how your belongings would probably be cut up. Or you possibly can settle for that you simply’re caught along with your husband until loss of life do you half.

Sometimes, solely marital property — property acquired when you have been married — will get cut up throughout a divorce. Marital property typically can embody cash you earned, retirement accounts you contributed to, properties and automobiles you bought, and so forth. Separate property — belongings that you simply acquired earlier than marriage, plus presents and inheritances made completely to at least one partner — sometimes received’t get divvied up by a choose.

Bought a Burning Cash Query?

Get sensible recommendation on your cash challenges from Robin Hartill, a Licensed Monetary Planner and the voice of Expensive Penny.

DISCLAIMER: Choose questions will seem in The Penny Hoarder’s “Expensive Penny” column. We’re unable to reply each letter. We reserve the best to edit and publish your questions. However don’t fear — your id will stay nameless. Expensive Penny columns are for normal informational functions solely, however we promise to offer sound recommendation based mostly on our personal analysis and insights.

Forty-one states observe equitable distribution guidelines, which implies a choose makes an attempt to divide marital property in a means that’s truthful to each spouses. Equitable doesn’t all the time imply 50/50, although the cut up is commonly comparatively equal. However within the 9 states which are group property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), every partner is presumed to be 50% proprietor of any marital property.

So sure, your husband could be entitled to at the very least a portion of your pension, relying on how a lot of your marriage overlapped with the years you contributed. For instance, if you happen to contributed to your employer’s pension for 30 years however have been married throughout solely 18 of these years, 60% of the pension would in all probability be thought-about marital property whereas the opposite 40% could be separate property.

I’m certain an lawyer may argue that you simply deserve a larger share of the house’s fairness. However one complicating issue is that whenever you make investments separate property in marital property, the separate property often turns into marital property. Additionally, belongings are divided as a package deal. So if you happen to’re decided to maintain the house, you’d in all probability need to make concessions elsewhere.

Splitting belongings after 20 years of marriage can get extraordinarily sophisticated. So you actually need to speak to an lawyer. Search for one who affords a free session. Assembly with an lawyer to discover your choices isn’t the identical as serving your husband with divorce papers tomorrow. Taking this child step doesn’t obligate you to make any life-changing selections.

Nobody will get the whole lot they need in a divorce. However if you happen to cut up out of your husband, a surefire approach to waste cash is to struggle over the whole lot. You may typically lower your expenses on divorce by being open to compromise. Although it’s best to nonetheless meet with an lawyer, many {couples} save considerably by figuring out a divorce settlement with a third-party mediator as an alternative of going by attorneys.

In case you break up, you’re in all probability not going to stroll away feeling such as you bought a good shake. You contributed extra financially all through the wedding, and most divorce settlements are comparatively equal. So that you’ll have to resolve simply how badly you wish to finish this marriage. Sacrificing a few of your hard-earned cash could also be price it if it buys you a clear slate.

Robin Hartill is a licensed monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected].

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