A wife in Scotland has failed in her legal bid to claim a share of her husband’s pensions despite a prior agreement to not do so.
The couple married in Glasgow in 1979 and were together for 27 years. Their marriage had been troubled for a number of years before their separation in 2006. Shortly afterwards, the couple signed a ‘Minute of Agreement’. This is a legally binding document in Scottish law which has the same weight as a court order. They are used by couples who have separated but do not wish to divorce straight away and they set out any arrangements the couples have decided upon, from finances to childcare.
One of the terms in this couple’s agreement was that the husband would have to pay his wife £60,000. In exchange, she could make no claim on his pensions. After both parties had signed the document, the husband paid his wife the money he had promised.
In 2013, he applied for a full divorce but his wife objected. She wanted to challenge the terms in the Minute of Agreement and claimed she was entitled to a share of her husband’s pensions.
The case was brought to the Sheriffdom (judicial district) of Glasgow and Strathkelvin. Sheriff Aisha Y Anwar was “not satisfied that [the agreement] was unfair and unreasonable”. She declared that the wife had signed it “freely, without coercion or undue pressure”. Therefore, the wife’s objections were dismissed.
Sheriff Anwar ruled that the couple’s marriage had “broken down irretrievably as established by the parties’ non-cohabitation for a continuous period of more than two years” and granted the husband’s application for a divorce.
The judgment is available online. To read it in full, click here.
Photo of Edinburgh by Tilmandralle via Wikipedia