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    20 January 2021

    Pensions on Divorce – Can you afford to Ignore Them?

    While it is not compulsory to share pensions in a divorce they should always be considered.  Cases where the pension pot is more valuable than property equity may not be as scarce as you might imagine.  Pensions should not, therefore, be ignored or overlooked when divorcing and are often dealt with by agreement following expert advice.

    There is still uncertainly around how 2020 has affected the family landscape, reports at the beginning of Lockdown 1, March 2020, saw a 40% rise in divorce enquiries in the UK, although the number of actual applications had unexpectedly fallen by 8% by the end of the year.

    ‘Separating is a tough decision for most couples and in such unprecedented times, making that break may be delayed as people struggle with financial uncertainty’ said Sally Harris, Family Solicitor. ‘Pensions on divorce can be complex but they can also be some of the most valuable assets that a couple own.’

    Pensions and Divorce

    Pensions come in many different forms, the most common are: –

    1. Defined Benefit (DB)
    2. Defined contribution (DC)

    These can be through your employer or private pension arrangements.

    In July 2019, helpful guidance was published exploring how pensions can be dealt with on divorce. The Pension Advisory Group’s (PAG), Report is well worth reading and you may decide to approach a pension on divorce expert (PODE) for actuarial advice and generally how pensions can be divided on divorce, to produce a fair outcome in terms of income equality and capital.

    The courts have a wide range of powers to deal with pensions, typically orders are: –

    1. Pension sharing
    2. Offsetting pension claims
    3. And less commonly, pension attachment orders.

    First steps are to gather and share information about the parties pensions.  This would typically include capital values called CE or CETV, the ages of the parties involved and what the parties want to achieve by way of pension share and offsetting.

    Couples may then decide which advice needs to be taken, individually and/or jointly.

    Legal advice is an important part of the process in finalising pension arrangements on divorce.  The Family Team at Steeles Law are experienced in dealing with pensions and guiding clients through the settlement process making the same as stress-free and straightforward as possible.

    Fixed Fee Appointments

    It is always advisable to have an initial chat with a Family Lawyer; this ensures you know your legal position and rights before proceeding.  It does not have to be costly to take advice.  Steeles Law Family Solicitors offer an initial fixed fee meeting for £100 plus VAT, for up to an hour so that you can chat through any legal issues and raise any questions you have, or £125 + VAT including a follow-up letter.

    The team also offer fixed-fee packages concerning divorce and financial proceedings.  If you would like to discuss any of the matters discussed in this article, please call the team on 01603 598000 or email family@steeleslaw.co.uk to book your appointment.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject but does not to provide specific legal advice.



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