Shropshire woman's appeal over 48K pension dismissed

The appeal of a Shropshire woman’s claim against her late partner’s pension worth around £48,000 a year has been dismissed.

The couple who were based at RAF Cosford had been together for 15 years when suddenly in 2011 the husband suffered an unexpected heart-attack and very sadly died.

The couple were not married but had always planned to ‘tie the knot’ at some stage in their lives. The husband was an Air Commodore for the RAF and she gave many years to his career as a ‘Forces Wife’.

The women has been denied entitlement to not only his pension worth around £48,000 a year, but also his death in service payment of £400,000 which was instead paid to his parents and siblings.

The reason for the High Court upholding the Service Personnel Veterans Agency’s decision and dismissing her appeal is due to the fact that she had not divorced her estranged husband even though they had been separated for 17 years. The rules state that the unmarried spouse must have been free to marry the deceased and it was found that as she was still technically married to another man, this meant that she was not free to marry her late partner and as a result not entitled to his pension or death in service payment.

As well as the emotional loss that this woman has suffered she is now also suffering a significant financial loss as well.

This decision highlights the importance of seeking sound legal advice upon the breakdown of a marriage. There have been a few landmark decisions made recently in the matrimonial area of law and obtaining clear legal advice on your individual situation is vital to protect yourself, your finances and your family upon the breakdown of a marriage or separation. If you have any concerns then please contact a member of the Family team here at Terry Jones who will be pleased to advise and assist you on your personal circumstances.

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