Pensions Entitlement following Marriage Breakdown
31 March 2021
Often a Pension is one of the largest assets in a marriage. It is essential that you receive expert matrimonial financial advice and, at times, actuarial advice on how it can be addressed during negotiations on a division of the overall marital assets.
Court has the power to make Share Orders in respect of Pensions which means that your spouse or civil partner may be awarded some or all of your Pension. As part of the process of exchanging financial discovery, an up-to-date Cash Equivalent Transfer Value of your Pension is required to enable its value to be calculated.
A spouse does not benefit from a Pension Sharing Order until they retire.
One other common and often more desirable manner of dealing with Pension disparity is to ‘off set’ one party’s interest in the other party’s Pension. The benefit to the spouse with the higher Pension is that their Pension remains intact. However, as a result that spouse will either accept a reduction or relinquish their interest in other matrimonial assets, up to an agreed amount.
The spouse with the lower Pension and therefore receiving the lump sum would not receive the same value of Pension they would get on a Pension Sharing Order because they receive it upfront and not on retirement. This is termed the utility argument.
MKB Law can provide expert legal advice and instruct Actuaries on your behalf to allow you to make informed choices as to how your Pension is dealt with during marriage breakdown. Please contact a member of our Family Law team to discuss further.