Divorce and Pensions

Pensions are a major asset for many people and if you are going through a divorce, it is crucial to make sure your pension provision is properly dealt with. This could mean protecting a pension pot you have built up over time or ensuring you have a share of a pension to provide for you in the future.

If your pension is a priority for you, we can work to ensure that it is safeguarded as far as possible. We can also advise you on how a pension might be divided and what you might expect to receive in a settlement.

At Huggins Lewis Foskett, our South Woodford divorce and pensions lawyers routinely deal with pensions issues. We can work with you to establish the agreement that you would like to reach over your finances and provide robust representation to secure the best possible deal on your behalf.

We know how important it is to you to have the right financial settlement and we will work tirelessly to achieve this. We are strong negotiators and are frequently able to deal with cases without the need for litigation, which is a faster and more cost-effective way of managing matters.

If you would like to talk to our divorce and pensions solicitors in London, ring us on 0208 989 3000. Or use our simple contact form to request a call back and we will be happy to answer your questions.

Why choose Huggins Lewis Foskett for divorce and pensions advice?

Our family law team have extensive experience in the sector and are friendly and approachable.

As well as genuine legal expertise, we provide outstanding service, giving you the guidance and support you need. We offer fixed fees wherever possible so that you can be sure of the costs involved.

We are a member of Resolution, the family law group committed to resolving disputes with minimum conflict. We always work to try and find a solution without the need for court hearings and where necessary, we can advise you on alternative methods of dispute resolution.

Our divorce and pensions service

Advice on how your pension could be dealt with in a divorce settlement

Dealing with a pension and divorce settlement can be complex and it is essential to have legal advice from an expert. We will look at your situation in detail and give you the advice you need to protect your rights and interests and ensure your financial security for the future.

We can negotiate on your behalf to secure your preferred outcome and make sure that you understand the implications involved in dealing with pensions on divorce.

Dealing with the valuation of pensions in divorce

We will ensure that your pension provision and that of your spouse is valued as accurately as possible, securing a cash equivalent value from the pension trustees and where necessary, an actuarial valuation.

Pension sharing

Pension sharing involves splitting a pension so that each party has control of a share.

We will advise you on whether a pension sharing order is an option in your case and the implications of this.

Pension offsetting

Pension offsetting is when one party receives another asset instead of a share of the available pension provision. For example, one party could keep the shared home and the other retain their pension.

Pension earmarking

Pension earmarking involves sharing the income from a pension when the time comes. One party will be entitled to receive a specified percentage once the pension holder decides to start drawing the pension.

Reaching an agreement over pensions in divorce

Wherever possible, we help clients to negotiate a financial settlement without the need for court action. We can put together a strong case on your behalf and negotiate to try and reach an agreement over pension provision and other financial matters.

Where an agreement cannot be reached, we can represent you in mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution.

We have a high level of expertise in dealing with pensions in divorce as well as division of other assets and we are often able to resolve matters out of court.

Everything you need to know about divorce and pensions

How can you protect your pension in a divorce?

While your pension will form part of the matrimonial assets to be divided on divorce, if you want to keep your pension, this may be possible. This is generally done by pension offsetting, meaning that while you would keep your pension entitlement, your spouse would have a larger share of other assets by way of compensation. This could be a bigger share of the family home or more in the way of savings and investments.

How is a pension split in a divorce?

There are a range of options available when dealing with divorce pension splitting, as follows:

  • Pension sharing
  • Pension offsetting
  • Pension earmarking

Pension sharing allows a pension to be divided into two so that each spouse has their own pension, which is under their control. They will each be able to retire and draw on the pension when they choose to do so.

Pension offsetting allows one party to keep their pension while the other party has other assets in return. This is only really an option if there are sufficient other assets available to adequately compensate for the pension.

Pension earmarking is a less popular option. Also referred to as pension attachment, it provides a share of the income from one party’s pension to be paid to the other party. There are drawbacks to pension earmarking, including the fact that if the pension holder dies, the other party will be left with nothing, and if the pension holder chooses to delay retirement, the other party will have to wait for their share of the income.

How long after a divorce can you claim a pension?

When you divorce, it is essential to have a financial order made setting out how all of your finances will be dealt with. Without a financial order, it is open to your former spouse to make a claim against you at any stage in the future. This is because marriage is a financial commitment for life which does not end on divorce. The only way the financial commitment can be ended is by an order of the court.

Even if you and your partner are able to agree between you how you will divide your assets, you must still ask the court to put this agreement into a binding consent order. This will mean that you can rely on the agreement and enforce it in the future, should this be necessary.

How is a pension valued for divorce?

Pensions are valued for divorce proceedings by obtaining a cash equivalent value from the pension fund trustees. You are entitled to one free valuation of your pension per year.

A cash equivalent value is not always an accurate way of assessing the worth of a pension on its own because of the difference in certain pension benefits. For example, a defined benefit or final salary pension could be worth more than a defined contribution pension when the time comes to retire. For this reason, it is sometimes recommended that an actuary or divorce and pensions expert is instructed to provide a professional pension valuation for divorce purposes.

You should also check if either party has missed National Insurance Contributions, which could affect their entitlement to state pension payments. These can be made up so that full entitlement is recovered and this issue should be dealt with as part of the financial settlement.

Do pensions always get split in divorce?

Pensions are not always split on divorce. It is quite often the case that the person with day-to-day care of the children has the family home while the other party keeps their pension provision. The options open to you will depend on what assets you hold between you and what is important to you and your spouse.

We can advise you as to whether you might be able to keep your pension if you particularly want to do this, and what other choices there might be.

Our divorce and pensions advice fees

Fixed fee divorce and pensions advice

We offer some work in respect of divorce and pensions on a fixed fee basis so that you will know from the outset exactly how much our costs will be.

Hourly rates for divorce and pensions legal advice

For more complex matters, including negotiating how pensions will be dealt with on divorce, we will charge according to our hourly rates. These will depend on the complexity of your case and the level of legal expertise needed.

For an indication of our costs, please ring us and we can book you in for a free consultation of up to 30 minutes.

Our family law team

Fee Earners

Marcin Typiak

Speak to our divorce and pensions solicitors in South Woodford, London

If you would like to talk to our divorce and pensions London solicitors in South Woodford, ring us on 0208 989 3000. Or use our simple contact form to request a call back and we will be happy to answer your questions.