Here for you: Please note that Brookman’s services remain uninterrupted during this time. Read more

Pensions And Your Divorce: New Guide Highlights The Need For Caution

Date: August 12th, 2019 - Written by: Brookman Solicitors

 

A pension can often be the biggest asset in a divorce apart from the family home. We’ve previously discussed the complexity of assessing the value of a pension and dividing it during a divorce. Ensuring fairness when it comes to pensions and divorce is a fine balancing act.  So the publication this month of a comprehensive guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce is a useful addition to the existing information currently available.

 

Why Publish The Guide To Pensions Now?

The guide, published by the respected Pensions Advisory Group, is a response to the perception that there has been a growing inconsistency across the courts of England and Wales in the way pensions are treated on divorce.

As one of the authors of the report highlights, five out of six divorce settlements don’t incorporate a pension share. In some ways therefore the guide is an attempt to simply get people to think properly about pensions when they divorce and to appreciate how a failure to deal with them could result in future financial hardship.

Ultimately the inconsistency has led to unfairness, particularly toward the non-pension owning spouse. In our experience at Brookman in London it’s clear that individuals going through divorce are often unaware of their pension rights or how to begin splitting pension assets. Added to this, family judges have had to remain up to date with recent changes in pensions law. These for example give pension holders much greater freedom to access the underlying pension funds at 55.

 

Who Is The Pensions Guide Aimed At?

The guide is primarily geared toward family lawyers and judges. But it also hopes to directly assist individuals going through divorce, providing them with the tools they need to begin deciding how to approach the issue of their own or their estranged spouse’s pension on divorce.  It includes information on areas such as:

  • How to approach pension valuations when there is a large income disparity between spouses
  • How to gather information on all pension benefits, including state benefits and death benefits
  • How to approach complications in pension valuations, such as when a defined benefit pension scheme is in place

 

Pension Attachment Orders: A Warning

A pension attachment order redirects part or all of a pension holder’s benefits to the ex-spouse when it comes into payment. As the guide points out such orders are rarely made today except in exceptional circumstances. However the Pensions Advisory Group does identify a significant danger in relation to attachment orders made in the past and the new pension law changes we mentioned above.

Because pension scheme administrators are still getting to grips with how to interpret old attachment orders in light of the new pensions freedoms some pension holders have managed to withdraw their entire pension before the attachment order kicks in.

According to the report there is evidence that some non-pension owning spouses have only discovered the pension pot is empty when it’s too late to recover any of the funds. As a result the group has urged anyone with the benefit of a pre existing attachment order to seek urgent legal advice.

If you have an existing pension attachment order and you have concerns that your ex spouse may try to access the funds before the order comes into effect we would be happy to offer guidance.

 

Contact Us

As we know courts in financial remedy cases are aiming for one thing: fairness between the two sides. This applies to all assets, including pensions. But because pensions are so difficult to divide legal advice in relation to pensions is often required even when a divorce is not contested. For advice on pension division or any other aspect of financial settlements call us on + 44 (0)20 7430 8470 or contact us online.

Share:

Google Reviews

Brookman Solicitors

70 Reviews

Yesima Hamid 04/09/2020

I want to highly commend Brookman Solicitors firm. I had the privilege of getting very thorough and sensible advice from their solicitor Jennifer Douglas. I don't have enough praise for her. She made me feel at ease and 'got me' and understood very well all the issues and her advice was on point. I felt she had my interest at heart in all the different matters. She was very accommodating and willing. She truly made a difference. She has great insight and I truly recommend her and the firm. They are very professional with the human touch.

Roohie Mahajan 16/08/2020

I am so happy that I hired their services. I am from India and it was my international divorce case. My ex husband is in the UK. I had a free telephone conversation with Henry Brookman and I was so satisfied that without even meeting him I was so confident. My case was handled in the best way possible.

He is probably the one of the best lawyers in the world. He is extremely competent, professional, intelligent and empathetic. The only lawyer who genuinely work to help you rather than making money. He is a very experienced lawyer and he saved me so much money. He is so calm and kind towards his approach. He is the most genuine person I have come across.

I just came to London once to attend my hearing. My husband and his solicitors made it so complicated. My ex husband has to spend double the amount of legal fees than me. This is the difference between hiring a good experienced lawyer. Their fees might be expensive but good lawyer will make you save money at the end. Finally at the end I won the case and my husband has to pay all my legal fees without me travelling to the UK. I will always be eternally grateful to Henry Brookman and Brookman Solicitors. I am falling short of words to praise them.

I highly recommend their services. Keep up the good work.

Jen Ade 23/07/2020

I had an initial consultation and Henry was well prepared. He gave great advice and followed through quite quickly. He was very helpful.

Chris Mullins 15/07/2020

Henry and team were most professional, considerate and efficient when handling the financial proceedings owing to my overseas divorce. I recommend their services highly. International circumstance was at first to me most daunting and confusing, given each country had its' own unique approach. Thankfully Henry was knowledgeable of the law on either side of the seas and able therefore to provide best guidance and reasoning to me which enabled favourable settlement!

Wim Jansen 24/06/2020

I contacted Brookman to ask for information regarding the validity of an international divorce court ruling. They were very quick in providing me with the right information. When I had another question a few months later around children matters I phoned them again and after taking some background information and contact details they booked me in for a free telephone consultation with 1 of their partners Talitha Brookman. She spent half an hour of her time explaining to me what I could expect and provided legal advice. All was free of charge. I would not hesitate to contact them again should any matter become more formal and have to go through court. The service has been quick, professional and very friendly.