Pensions on Divorce

Although a pension is likely to be one of the top two assets that a couple have, recent research shows that less than 15% of divorce/civil partnership settlements deal with the question of pensions.  Pensions should always be considered when negotiating a divorce settlement.  Not to do so may lead to an unfair settlement being reached.

Most people find pensions confusing but a Family Lawyer who has experience of dealing with pensions can advise how to go about including pensions in a divorce/civil partnership settlement.  There are various options, but which one is appropriate depends upon the particular circumstances of the couple.  Full details of the pension pots are required, whether the pension is being paid or not.  Also, other matters need to be taken into account including whether there are any other assets, the ages of the parties or whether their health may have an effect on the question of pensions to name just a few.

A pension or pensions can be shared as part of a settlement, but other options can be considered, including offsetting the value of a pension fund against other assets for example the matrimonial home or savings.  However, care must be taken when considering offsetting, because the basis of valuation of a pension pot is very different to the value of other assets, such as a house or savings, which may have an immediate benefit, whereas a pension fund often doesn’t provide any benefit for many years to come.

Another way that pensions can be dealt with is by an “attachment” order being made under which a share of income or lump sum is paid out to the other spouse at retirement age.  But there are problems with this; for example there is no control over the date of the pensioner’s retirement and the benefits would be lost in the event of his or her death.

Juliet Blackie as an experienced Family Law Solicitor can advise on these issues and how to go about sorting them out whether you wish to make a claim against your spouse’s pensions or look at ways in which you may be able to protect your own pension pot.

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