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Don't Forget The Pension

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I am still amazed by the number of divorce clients who are so fixated on the matrimonial home (which in these difficult economic times is not always as valuable as first perceived) that they almost completely disregard their spouse’s pension which in an increasing number of cases is proving to be the most valuable matrimonial asset.

During the Court process, the parties are required to give full disclosure of the values of their pensions and the Court will take into account the pension assets when determining what share of the matrimonial pot each party is to receive to meet their future needs.

There are three ways that pensions can be divided during divorce:

Pension sharing – the pension is split at the time of the divorce to enable the party receiving a share of the pension to have their own pension fund within the existing pension scheme or transfer it externally to their own pension scheme.Pensions attachment – formerly known as ‘earmarking’, where the party in whose favour the attachment is made will receive a proportion of the pension when it comes into payment.

Pensions offsetting –  so that the party without the pension provision receives a greater share of the other matrimonial assets such as the matrimonial home which is “offset” against the value of the pension fund.

The advice of an experienced divorce lawyer is invaluable when dealing with pensions. They can ensure that pensions are not overlooked, that the other party provides disclosure of their pension provision and they can advise whether a pensions expert/actuary should be instructed to provide a pension sharing report, which will provide a more accurate and realistic valuation of the pension fund.

Don’t forget the pension.