How do you Split a Pension Following a Divorce?
Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, and one aspect that requires careful consideration is the division of assets. Understandably, both parties will be keen to ensure that their futures are financially secure when they go on to lead their separate lives. One of the most important financial considerations in this instance is your pension, which should be included in your settlement. Despite this, it’s commonly overlooked. Pensions can often be a person’s single biggest asset, so protecting it in the event of a divorce is a must.
Establishing a Pension Valuation
In order to find out exactly how much each party will each receive from a split pension, a valuation is necessary. Valuing a pension is a complex process, which is why we always recommend support in this area. Investing in an independent pension sharing report has its costs of course, however not only is it helpful for managing expectations, it’s also a necessary document for lawyers when considering complex pension schemes.
Pension Rights and Entitlements
Before delving into the specifics of pension division, it is crucial to understand the different types of pension rights and entitlements. In the UK, there are two main types of pensions: state pensions and private pensions. The state pension is provided by the government, while private pensions are typically workplace or personal pensions. When determining how to divide a pension, there are several factors to consider.
Length of Marriage
The duration of the marriage often influences the division of pension rights. Typically, the longer the marriage, the more likely it is that pensions will be divided equally.
The contributions made by both spouses to their respective pensions during the marriage are considered. Contributions may be monetary or non-monetary, such as caring for children or supporting the household.
Financial Positions and Needs
The financial needs and positions of both parties are assessed to ensure a fair division of assets, including pensions. Factors such as age, health, earning capacity, and child custody responsibilities may be taken into account.
The court has the discretion to consider all relevant circumstances, including future financial needs, when they make a decision on pension division. This allows for flexibility in finding an equitable solution.
What are the Options for Pension Division?
There are three main options when it comes to dealing with pensions in a divorce: pension offsetting, pension sharing orders and pension attachment orders. It’s worth noting that seeking legal advice from a matrimonial solicitor before deciding upon an option is a must.
This option involves dividing the pension funds between both spouses, usually by creating separate pension funds for each individual. It provides a clean break and allows each party to control their own pension pot independently.
With this approach, the pension value is offset against other matrimonial assets. For example, one spouse may keep the pension while the other receives a larger share of the property or other investments.
This method involves earmarking a portion of the pension benefits for the non-member spouse. The non-member spouse receives a percentage of the pension income or a lump sum when the pension is accessed by the member spouse.
There are a number of ways in which a financial settlement can be achieved. You can either reach an amicable agreement between yourselves, engage in a full and frank voluntary disclosure through solicitors, or you can apply to the Court for their assistance in achieving a resolution. The aim, once a settlement has been achieved, is to have this recorded within a Consent Order. This is then legally binding on you and your partner.
Advice from a Family Law Solicitor
Pension division can be a complex process, requiring careful consideration and expert advice. We would always recommend that you consult with a specialist family law solicitor so that they can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances and ensure you understand your rights and options, such as Vines Legal. If you are in the process of a divorce, we can help. For a free initial consultation with our specialist family lawyers, please contact us on 01246 555610.
By Vines Legal on 27 Jun 2023, 16:23 PM