Pensions rights when divorcing or dissolving a civil partnership

Article

10 February, 2013

I am in my forties and I have decided to divorce my spouse of 20 years. I am concerned as I have a very limited pension provision and my spouse has a substantial pension. Am I entitled to make a claim against my spouse's pension?

Your family home is not the only important financial consideration in the breakdown of a relationship. Your spouse's pension could also be a valuable asset which should not be ignored otherwise you may be losing out. Recent research indicates that pensions only featured in 15% of divorce settlements!

Pensions form part of the "matrimonial pot", which are the assets that need to be divided between the spouses.

It is essential that you seek assistance from a solicitor specialising in family law as soon as your relationship breaks down. The solicitor will need to know the approximate value of all assets to be able to advise you. You can contact your pension provider in order to obtain a valuation of your pension.

There are three ways to deal with pensions:

  1. Pension sharing orders - This is when the pension is divided at the time of the financial proceedings thereby providing you with your own pension pot in the future.
  2. Pension Offsetting - This is where the pension benefits are offset against other capital assets such as the family home.
  3. Pension earmarking - This is when a specified amount and/or lump sum is paid to you, at a specified time, namely retirement.

Your solicitor will discuss what option will be most suited to your case.

It is always worth taking legal advice. We understand divorce can be a stressful time and you may wish to reach an informal agreement in relation to pension rights directly with your spouse. However, pension rights cannot be assigned unless it is through a Court Order.

It is important to know where you stand not only in relation to pensions but also other assets. We at Forbes are here to advise and support you through what could be the most difficult time of your life.

Forbes Family law team is made up of specialist Solicitors who offer advice on all areas of Family Law, including divorce, division of assets following marriage breakdown, cohabitee issues, ancillary relief, civil partnerships, children matters and change of name deeds. For further information on divorce issues please contact any of our Family Law Solicitors

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