I paid into that Pension – It’s mine!

One of the most divisive issues a divorcing couple face is the division of their pension assets.

Pensions and Divorce – what you need to know…

Pensions are inherently a matrimonial asset. This is a commonly misunderstood area, with many believing that a pension is a single asset for the sole benefit of the person who accrued the entitlement. This is in fact untrue. When a couple enter a marriage pensions become matrimonial assets.

On separation, the Family Court as a starting point, particularly for long marriages, must have regard to the “yardstick of equality”. This is a rebuttable presumption that means there should be an equal division of all matrimonial assets, including pensions wherever possible.

How are pensions dealt with in divorce?

The best method in nearly all cases is that the divorcing parties come to an agreement regarding how the assets are to be divided and enter into a Financial Remedy Order by consent. This includes pensions. Pensions have different values and the interests accrue at different rates depending on the type of scheme. This means it is not a rudimentary exercise of simply taking a Cash Equivalence Valuation (method of valuing pensions) and dividing the figure by two. Indeed, in some situations, it may be possible to “ring-fence” or “keep” certain parts of the pension if they were accrued pre-marriage. This is a complex process and can involve technical negotiations.

Aside from the family home, pensions are generally the second most valuable asset from the marriage. Expert advice needs to be taken at the outset and indeed, throughout the negotiations, as to how any pension is to be shared. Often, this may involve expert advice from a specialist pension expert referred to as an ‘Actuary’.

Expert Divorce Solicitors

The Family Law Team at Browell Smith and Co have a wealth of experience negotiating the division of pension assets. We have cemented great connections with pension experts who can provide expert support on how to achieve a settlement within the marriage. If you require advice and assistance then please contact us for an initial consultation to see how we can help.

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