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Can your ex demand part of your pension when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2022 | Property Division

Former spouses often become quite aggressive toward one another when they divorce. One spouse may try to get as much property as they can from the other or to cut them off from time with the children. 

Maybe your ex has claimed that they want to take your pension away. It can be hard to tell what is actually an actionable threat and what is just empty bluster. Can they make a claim to a pension that is only in your name when you divorce? 

The name on the account isn’t what matters

Your spouse may be right that they have at least a partial claim to an interest in your pension. Although you may have started your job and accrued benefits before you got married, at least some of the pension’s balance is from during your marriage. 

Both income and other valuable assets acquired while you are married are marital property that you may have to split with your spouse. Even if you don’t have to actually share the pension itself with your ex, you may have to consider its value when splitting up other property. 

The amount accrued during your marriage is at risk, but contributions from before your marriage will likely remain your separate property. Some people think ahead and draft a marital agreement protecting their pension. If you have such paperwork, you may not need to split your pension. You could also avoid dividing the account itself by negotiating a property division settlement outside of court.

Understanding the rules that apply to property division when you divorce can help you protect what matters most to you.