However, when considering pension sharing after divorce you need to understand how a pension is treated when considering the matrimonial assets. Just like other assets, pensions must be disclosed as part of the full financial disclosure, which is vital for Form E. As such, the starting point for dividing pensions between spouses is 50/50. As with all assets, however, how pensions are divided (indeed if they are at all) can be negotiated as part of the financial settlement.
Another issue which adds to the complex nature of pensions as part of a financial settlement, is that attributing an exact value to a pension is a notoriously tricky task.
As touched on in our opening paragraph, disputes surrounding how to divide pensions upon pension sharing on divorce are not unusual.
Furthermore, pension sharing on divorce can often be one of the largest assets in a marriage, after the family home. This means that the importance of the role pensions can play in a financial settlement should not be underestimated.
Exactly how (or if) a pension after divorce is split as part of a financial settlement can be influenced by a number of factors, including how old each spouse is and how close they are to retirement.
As always, every couple’s circumstances are unique, so it is important to seek professional advice for your particular pension sharing on divorce situation.
However, it is useful to look at the various ways a pension after divorce can be divided. These include:
This is when one spouse gets a share of the other’s pension/s. In order for this to happen, the share is either transferred into the relevant spouse’s name or that spouse could choose to join their ex’s pension scheme. Sometimes, deferred pension sharing (when both spouse’s agree to share the pension at a later date) can also be possible in some circumstances.
The pension’s value could be offset against another asset/s, such as the family home. This means that one spouse may get to keep their pension and the other may, for example, get more of another asset.
This is where one spouse receives some of the other’s pension when it starts being paid.
When one spouse retires, the other gets a lump sum from their pension.
Pension entitlement after divorce can often cause the most conflict when it comes to negotiating the financial settlement. Ensuring that a pension’s value is correctly calculated is critical.
The complexity of pension divorce settlement as part of the divorce settlement should not be underestimated. It is highly advisable to seek professional advice from solicitors experienced in this area of law, especially, as can often be the case, when your pension/s form a large part of the marital assets.
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