Divorce & Pensions
When getting divorced, there are many financial considerations that need to be accounted for, including each spouse’s pension entitlements. This is to ensure that neither spouse misses out on their right to a fair retirement income.
These matters can be highly complicated and difficult to resolve if not handled correctly, which is why it is essential to have expert legal representation to ensure your interests are protected.
At Lovell Chohan solicitors, our team includes divorce solicitors with Family Law Advanced accreditation from the Law Society as well as specialist Resolution-trained non-confrontational dispute resolution solicitors. This means we can offer expert assistance with all matters relating to divorce and pensions, making sure you achieve a fair divorce settlement.
Why are pensions included in divorce settlements?
When dealing with ancillary relief applications in divorce proceedings and in order to achieve a fair division of the parties’ assets on divorce, the court will consider the effect on one spouse of the loss of an entitlement to the other’s pension.
The benefits that have accrued to one party under a pension scheme can be a valuable asset and yet they are not realizable until the pension scheme member reaches retirement. The court can therefore make a pension sharing order under section 24B of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
What is a pension sharing order?
A pension sharing order enables the court to divide the pension rights between the parties at the time of divorce. The court will decide what value of the pension fund the spouse who is not a member of the pension scheme is entitled to, then direct a transfer payment equal to this value into a pension arrangement that will provide retirement benefits for that spouse.
In this way, both parties can have immediate control over their own pension provisions. Pension sharing orders can be made on divorce or nullity but not on judicial separation.
How pension sharing orders work
A pension sharing order can be made against an occupational pension scheme or personal pension scheme. Pension sharing also applies to most public service pensions and the State Earnings Related Pension Schemes (SERPS).
The court has wide powers and discretion to make orders relating to:
- Payment of the member’s pension on retirement
- The lump sum payable on retirement or on death after retirement
- The lump sum payable on death in service, after leaving service but before retirement and after retirement.
- The court may also require a party to nominate the other to receive their death in service benefits.
A pension sharing order will be expressed in percentage terms, showing what share of the pension each person is entitled to.
Depending on the type of pension scheme involved, the transferee may have the choice of:
An internal transfer – This allows them to become a member of the transferor’s pension scheme in their own right.
An external transfer – This involves transferring funds to a different pension scheme, so both former spouses end up with their own separate pensions.
In either of these options the pension provider is entitled make a charge for implementing the pension sharing order.
Why choose Lovell Chohan for your divorce & pensions matters?
We understand that the financial issues surrounding divorce can be highly complex and contentious, so offer a friendly, sensitive but highly practical and efficient approach so you can reach a settlement that protects your long-term interests.
Good communication is the key to our success, allowing us to get a clear understanding of your concerns and priorities so we can make sure our strategy reflects your goals. Our service is also highly accessible, with members of our team being fluent in a variety of languages, including English, Chinese, French, Hindi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Swahili, Spanish, Urdu and Welsh.
Lovell Chohan’s family law team is accredited by the Law Society for Family Law and Family Law Advanced, reflecting our exceptional expertise in this area. We have also achieved Lexcel accreditation from the law society in recognition of the strength of our client care and practice management and we are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).