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Your pension entitlements on divorce

Legal Review with Horsey Lightly Solicitors

Your pension entitlements on divorce

Have you thought how your pensions are dealt with if you and your spouse are looking to separate or divorce?

By virtue of marriage, a spouse has claims against their other half in respect of capital, pensions and income.

But how should your interest in your partner’s pension be considered as part of an overall financial settlement?

Should you seek a share of their pension pot, to create your own fund?

If monthly pension payments are being made, should some of those payments be made to you?

You may even want to offset your claim against your spouse’s pension in order to secure preferable houses or to ensure that your children are housed.

If your other half has given you a pension valuation, is it accurate?

If your spouse is seeking some of your pension, what share should be considered up for grabs in negotiation?

How should the pension be fairly divided?

When considering a financial settlement, pensions are often overlooked as an unnecessary complicating asset, despite being one of the most significant assets and the difference between a difficult and comfortable retirement.

Pension sharing came into force on December 1, 2000.

This means that the courts have the power to order the splitting of a pension scheme and for that share to be transferred to the other spouse’s own scheme or simply held as a new pension.

Some schemes are not capable of being split, but since July 1, 1996, the courts have been able to make earmarking orders against pensions.

Essentially, this means that a court can now order the managers or trustees of a pension scheme to pay out benefits to an ex-spouse on retirement.

This could include an order for a lump sum or maintenance or for an order that any death in service benefits under a pension scheme are payable to an ex-spouse (useful in terms of protecting maintenance in the event of the pension scheme member’s death).

Alternatively, it has always been possible to offset the value of a pension scheme against other assets so that, for
example, the pension scheme is taken into account by awarding the other spouse a greater percentage of the other assets available.

Pensions, just like any other asset from a marriage, should always be taken into account when looking at a financial settlement on divorce and so you should always ensure that you obtain legal advice before reaching agreement with your spouse.

Contact our supportive family law lawyers Alison Whistler, Jeremy Fitzgibbon or Ben Castle on 01635 580858 or email to see how we can help protect you and your future.

Horsey Lightly has been providing legal expertise for families and businesses for more than 100 years.

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