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Pensions and Divorce

When a couple decide to divorce it is frequently the case that one of them will own valuable pension rights and the other will not. It is often necessary, therefore, for pensions to be re-distributed between the parties or for some other provision to be made by way of compensation.

The law relating to pensions and divorce is complex and requires specialist knowledge. We have considerable experience in the division of pensions on divorce and in handling complex pension arrangements. Given that a pension can be the most valuable asset in a marriage, a lack of experience or understanding in this specialised area can lead to an unfair settlement.

Our experts are able to advise you on the following:-

  • Whether the capital value (known as the CE or CETV) accurately reflects the pension benefits which have accrued under the scheme. This is particularly important with final salary pension schemes.
  • In the case of public sector pension schemes (such as the Armed Forces or Police pensions), a full understanding of the benefits which have accrued under the scheme and the effect which age/length of service has on the capital value. A lack of understanding of the rules relating to the earliest stage at which a pension can be taken, when inflationary increases commence and the effect of long service, can lead to an undervalue of the benefits.
  • Maximising pension income from money purchase schemes by way of drawdown as opposed to the purchase of annuities.
  • Redistributing pensions already in payment.
  • Alternative options which are available, such as offsetting and pension earmarking.
  • Implementing the pension sharing arrangement and ensuring that a pension has been set up in your name.

Our family lawyers have considerable knowledge of this area and Deborah Leask is an accredited pension specialist.

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