Pensions On Divorce
Have you considered your pension if you are going through a divorce?
If you are going through a divorce you must consider the matter of pensions alongside you finances. The Court can consider the value of the fund and off-set this against other assets or they can share a pension under a Pension Sharing Order. The Court has the power to transfer the entire pension fund or a percentage of it to the non-owning spouse.
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First Steps to Take
Most divorcing couples find it difficult thinking about pensions as they are considered too complicated to sort out. The best way to tackle pensions and divorce is to:
- Start by compiling a list of all the different pensions you both currently hold.
- Contact the pension providers to seek a valuation of the pension fund. Most pensions administrators produce annual information about the pension so give this information to your solicitor. There are lots of ways to value pensions, the valuation required by the family court is the “Cash Equivalent Transfer Value” or CETV.
- Your options then need to be explored to achieve the best financial settlement. Often a specialist Pension Actuary Report will be required.
- If you reach agreement that either your or your spouse’s pension/s will be shared then a divorce court will need to make a financial court order and a pension sharing order.
The value of any pensions can be offset against other assets you may possess. For example, you may want to retain the family home in return for your spouse keeping their pension.
When considering pensions offsetting, it is essential that pensions are accurately valued and the financial settlement is tested to ensure it meets short- and long-term needs.
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If a pension sharing order is made, you will receive a percentage share of your spouse’s pension’s. This share then becomes your pension for the future.
If you’re thinking about your pension, but would like some more guidance about this and other options available to you, our team is here to help.
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Esra is a solicitor based in the family department.
Jessica is an Associate Solicitor and has specialised in family law throughout her career