Can you share your spouse’s pension when you divorce?

Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse supported one another and shared your resources. Both of you have come to expect a certain standard of living and to enjoy certain benefits that you derive because of your marriage.

When one spouse files for divorce, both will have to adjust to reduced income and changes to their household circumstances. Splitting your assets will change your daily life and also your future. Retirement is often a particularly pressing concern for those going through divorce. Can a spouse ask for a share of their spouse’s pension in a Massachusetts divorce?

The Massachusetts courts will try to be fair when they split your property

You can negotiate an agreement with your spouse to divide your assets or use your prenuptial agreement, if you have one, as guidance for the process. In that situation, you can defer to your agreement to determine what will happen to the pension.

If you and your spouse don’t reach an agreement about how to split your property, then the Massachusetts family courts will make those decisions for you. Under the equitable distribution standard, everything you accumulated during your marriage could be divided between the two of you. The judge has to look at your circumstances, including the resources and income of each spouse, to decide how to split your assets.

The portion of a pension accumulated during the marriage is likely subject to division. Even if a judge can’t divide the account because it is a work-sponsored benefit, they could use the value of the pension to help divide other assets or even order spousal support. Considering all of the factors in your divorce can help you develop realistic goals and a working strategy.



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