You and the Law – 9th June 2009

Keeping it in the family

My husband took over his father’s ailing business, and a few years later his brother put some money in with a view to his son taking over one day.

But the firm dwindled and the son got a good job and wasn’t interested in joining. My husband is now retired, but his brother’s widow is trying to claim money back from the business. Is she entitled to anything? There was nothing on paper, but my husband wants to do the right thing. TC

You don’t say what happened to the business when your husband retired. If it was sold, or if it closed down and the assets were sold off, the brother or his wife may have been entitled to a share of the proceeds.

However, it’s not clear whether the brother inherited the firm together with your husband, or what they agreed at the time. You should see a solicitor.

Lost maintenance

When I divorced 10 years ago, the terms of the consent order earmarked 15 per cent of the maximum lump sum of my ex-husband’s pension to me, with an additional portion as an annual payment.

I re-married last year, and the pension firm has now written to tell me that the annual payment would no longer be made because of the change in my marital status. Is this right? WE

It sounds as though the consent order came in two parts, one dealing with the division of your assets at the end of your marriage and the other providing you with maintenance. You lose your right to maintenance if you remarry, so it would appear that the pension firm has written to notify you of this.

Check this with your solicitor. These days the courts have the power to divide pensions. So if you were divorcing now you wouldn’t have to wait for your ex-husband to retire to receive your settlement.

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