When a couple are dealing with divorce, they have lots of things to consider both in practical and financial respects.
There is often, quite understandably, a focus on practical arrangements such as the children and the family home which are primary concerns.
However, it is important that proper consideration is given to pensions and how they are dealt with as often they can be very valuable assets, sometimes the most valuable or at least secondary to the family home.
As pension assets are not usually available, they can be overlooked by couples or not even prioritised by practitioners. It is important, if there are Pensions that up to date valuations are obtained (these are known by a number of names such as transfer values, CE or CETV’s) and advise is taken as to how they should be factored in to an overall settlement arrangement with regard to family finances.
As well as taking legal advice, it is often very important to have expert actuarial advice as to how pensions should be divided as this is a specific and often complex area and lawyers are not actuaries.
There are different ways in dealing with pensions on divorce but the most common way is pension sharing. This is where a percentage of one spouse’s scheme is shared and transferred to another party. This can sometimes be within the same scheme or to a completely different one, depending on what is financially best and what a particular scheme allows. The other main option can be what is called an offset where the party entitled to some pension provision from the other spouse has it in the form of another asset. This can be a greater share of the home or more of the available savings etc. What is best is different on a case by case basis and this is why it is so important to obtain legal advice before anything is decided or finalised.
Pension Sharing can only be dealt with where parties are married. It is not something available to a co-habiting couple and is only an Order that can be made by a Court but if you are separated and do not wish to be divorced it can be dealt with in the context of an agreed Financial Settlement which the Court will later be asked to approve and make legally binding.
If you have a Pension and are concerned about your rights, please contact any of our specialists at any of our offices in Boston, Lincoln, Spalding, Sleaford, Newark and Grantham.