Dealing with Pensions in Divorce

Divorce is always challenging, and discussing financial arrangements when emotions are running high can be difficult. However, you and your spouse will need to discuss your assets and come to a financial settlement that works for both of you. What many people fail to consider in their initial discussions is that your pension or the pension of your spouse may be one of your most considerable matrimonial assets. Your pension should always be included in any financial settlement following divorce or separation.  The law in England and Wales does not end your financial ties to your spouse automatically, and as a result, it is essential to take action to separate your pensions to avoid one party claiming on the other’s pension years, or even decades down the line.

Can my ex-spouse claim my pension after we have divorced?

The short answer to this is yes, it is possible for an ex-spouse to make a claim on your pension after divorce. However, they can only do so where there is no legally binding agreement in place. The value of pensions can be tremendous and often ex-spouses will claim against a pension years, or even decades, after the divorce.

Pensions can be neglected during the financial settlement process, often overshadowed by maintenance payments or child care matters. Even where settlement has been agreed, a court order is required to make it legally binding and prevent a claim being made on your pension.

How are pensions shared in divorce?

It is only possible to share your pension with your former partner if you have been previously married or in a civil partnership. How much you or your spouse is entitled to concerning the other’s pension will depend on several factors, including:

  • How long you were married or in a civil partnership
  • How long you have been separated
  • The age of any children or dependents
  • The financial situation and needs of both parties

The court will typically deal with pensions in one of three ways.

  • Pension Sharing: This is where you receive a percentage of your spouse’s pension pot, and the money is treated as legally yours.
  • Pension Offsetting: You can offset the value of the pension against other assets. For example, one spouse may keep the entire pension pot, but the other will keep the family home.
  • Pension Attachment: This is where some of your pension will be paid to your partner or the other way around. This is like a maintenance payment but is made directly from the pension.

Once you and your former partner have reached an agreement about how your pensions should be split, you should have a solicitor draw up a consent order which will finalise your financial settlement.

Once the court has approved the financial settlement, you can rest assured that there will be no surprise claims on your pension.

Contact Lindsay Jones Specialist Divorce and Child Lawyer Cheshire, Manchester, Altrincham, Lymm, Knutsford & Wilmslow

I have years of experience in helping clients from a range of backgrounds achieve a successful divorce and make family arrangements. I pride myself on making the process as pain-free as possible.

I offer a range of family law services including; divorce, fixed fee divorce, financial settlements, child law and related family law matters. When you entrust your family life with me, you can be sure I will treat your circumstances in strict confidence and always keep you informed of how your case is progressing. To discuss your case with me, call today on 0161 509 6662.

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