Apart from the family home, pensions are often the most valuable asset a couple has and should be included in the financial settlement following a split. Given their value and complexity, it is important to get expert legal advice about divorce and pensions. Often being the main carer of the children during the relationship can mean a spouse has little or no independent income and in turn a much smaller pension pot. This will have to be taken into account when reaching a financial settlement.
Pension divorce settlement
Pensions can be dealt with in several ways:
- Pension Sharing. You are given a percentage share of your spouse’s pension fund, that’s transferred into your name.
- Pension offsetting. The value of your share of the pension fund is offset against other assets, such as the family home.
- Lump-sum payment. It is possible to receive a tax-free lump sum from the pension pot when your ex retires.
Whilst the State Pension is generally not shared between divorcing couples, there are complex rules around National Insurance contributions and protected payments.
The experienced family team at Sweeney Miller have dealt with a wide range of pension arrangements following divorce and dissolution of Civil Partnerships, including final salary and defined benefit pensions with the NHS, Teachers, Civil Service, Local Authority, Pilots, Police and Fire Service.
Expert pension support
Each couple’s finances are unique, and it is best to obtain independent financial advice. We work closely with a range of finance experts such as Chartered financial planners, actuaries and accountants to ensure you understand fully what will happen to your pensions following a split, ensuring that your future needs are met.
What about the cost?
Given that both sides are generally responsible for their own legal costs, we recognise that no one wants to be stuck in a long, protracted court dispute, resulting in mounting legal costs. With our experience, we can quickly recognise when a case is losing momentum and we ensure that any hold-ups are quickly dealt with.
If you are worried about the costs, we can work with you to agree a payment plan. Assessed on an individual basis, we may suggest deferred payments are made upon the sale of a property or when you receive maintenance from your ex-spouse. We want to help you find a way to fund your legal costs, ensuring that you receive the best possible advice and support during what is often a challenging process.
With offices in Sunderland and Newcastle, our divorce solicitors work with clients across the North East. For a free no obligation first discussion please get in touch: