Posted March 14th, 2013
Cuts to the legal aid budget that come in next month are going to leave many vulnerable families deprived of vital services that only professionals can supply.
I can’t really understand where the government is coming from on this one. Often when cuts are imposed there will be some alternative offered. Yet in this instance the legislation comes in and will leave many people in difficult situations with nowhere to turn; and let’s not forget that there will obviously be a lot of children caught in the midst of all this. So much for the welfare of the child is paramount.
One reputable firm of solicitors – Stephensons, the largest family law team in the North West – are making provisions to help those that are in a vulnerable position. The help on offer to those families whether they may be divorcing, parents in adoption cases or parents trying to resolve contact disputes will include a fixed fee service and a flexible ‘pay as you go’ service. Both services will ensure that, at the very least those facing having to pay for their legal repressentation will know where they stand from a cost perspective.
I also offer a free 30 minute consultation and have a lot of experience in helping people work through their finances on divorce whether that is helping you get a fair settlement or implementing a pension sharing order. If you feel that you may be affected by the changes in legal aid then why not get in touch for a free 30 minute, no obligation consultation.
Posted November 20th, 2012
…..and that figure is unnervingly low. There are nearly twice as many women over 50 without a pension when compared with men over 50.
It seems clear then, that many women are not even asking the question upon agreeing a divorce settlement. It is more important now than ever before that the question of sufficiency in retirement is tabled during in settlement talks. It is just as relevant as child care and the split of matrimonial assets.
It’s pretty straight forward. If you have sacrificed a career to raise children, or even settled in a job just to help make ends meet within the marriage, there is a fair question of income equalisation after retirement that needs to be asked and answered.
I am an IFA with expertise in the field of Pensions on Divorce. If you are going through a divorce and need advice, or if the issue has never been raised for you and you feel that this is something that you would like to talk about then please get in touch:
Image credit: flickr.com/tax credits
Posted July 12th, 2011
In one of my previous blogs “two pension schemes or one?” I regaled you with the woe filled story of the two pre-approved pension sharing orders which were subsequently rejected by the pension schemes involved.
They were arguing rather belatedly in my opinion that the two periods of service and two cash equivalent transfer values (CETVs) they had provided us with were actually on reflection part of only one scheme.
Happily we have managed to get them to see the error of their ways and they are now in process of implementing the two pension sharing orders. All’s well that ends well.
If you are struggling to implement your pension sharing order and would like some advice why not get in touch on 0800 092 1229 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted April 1st, 2011
In the last few weeks an increasing number of clients have approached with pension sharing orders which need implementing as the existing scheme is not prepared to offer an internal transfer and they do not know what to do.
They themselves are members of final salary pension schemes (usually Public Sector) and have found out at the last moment of the divorce that their existing pension scheme will not allow their pension share to be transferred in.
So what next? - The pension transfer has to go somewhere and it is up to the client to set up a new pension arrangement to accept the transfer.
If this is you and you would like advice from a Resolution Accredited Independent Financial Adviser on how best to approach the implementation of your pension sharing order then call me on 01204 663904 or email – email@example.com
Posted February 28th, 2011
This month I have received an increasing level of enquiries concerning pension sharing orders and in particular, where is my pension?
What seems to be happening is that a pension share is being agreed (without any guidance) at a certain percentage (this month they seem to be ranging between 35% and 55%) and then nothing is happening with regard to any paperwork.
To get your pension share at retirement it is important to conclude the paperwork at the time of divorce, otherwise you can encounter problems later – See my previous blog on a shocking pension sharing case – http://www.thedivorceifa.co.uk/pension-sharing/pension-sharing-more-recent-issues
So if you have agreed a pension sharing order it is important to do the following:
- Contact the pension scheme involved and ask them to confirm how they deal with a pension share and what paperwork they need completing.
- Organise the correct court paperwork – pension sharing order, consent order, decree absolute and any other paperwork (existing and/or new pension scheme).
- Pay the pension sharing charges.
If you complete this paperwork then implementation of the pension sharing order should occur. Don’t wait to your retirement to ask where is my pension?
If you would welcome some assistance on your pension sharing order, your options and how to get it implemented, please feel free to contact me on 0800 092 1229 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted January 21st, 2011
The lifetime allowance is back in the news and will from April 2012 reduce from £1.8m to £1.5m.
But how does the lifetime allowance work in the context of divorce and pension sharing? In particular, how does it affect pension credits and pension debits now? And how will this reduction affect pension sharing orders going forward?
Where a pension credit is awarded this becomes an asset of the new owner and will form part of their overall pension entitlement which (at some point in the future) will be tested against their lifetime allowance.
Therefore, it is advisable to check (in high value cases) to see if the amount of the credit will take them over the lifetime allowance. If it will, then they may want to consider an alternative strategy or reduce the amount of the pension share.
A pension debit does not count towards the lifetime allowance of the member whose pension was shared. This means it is only the benefits that they actually receive that will be tested against the lifetime allowance.
If already in payment, the ex-spouse can apply for an increase in their standard lifetime allowance as the pension has already been tested against the lifetime allowance. The increase factor is found by dividing the pension credit by the standard lifetime allowance in force when the pension sharing order is made.
Where a debit arises then rebuilding of lost pension may be advisable.
Future Pension Sharing Orders
With a reducing lifetime allowance it will be even more important to make checks before proceeding. The limit will be lower and therefore, potentially more people will be affected.
If this issue affects you or your client, please contact us on 0800 092 1229 or email email@example.com
Posted December 13th, 2010
Pension Sharing Order – Need advice now?
Why not book a free no obligation review of how pension sharing affects you. Need some specific advice on a pension sharing order – I can provide it!
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there on what can and cannot be done with pension sharing orders.
I offer a free 30 minute consultation by telephone so why not call me now on 0800 092 1229 to arrange or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Virtual sessions available webcam too!
Posted November 1st, 2010
I was contacted by a lady this week who was wondering whose responsibility it is to send the court paperwork (consent order and pension sharing order) to the scheme. In this case it related to an NHS pension but the issue is very common indeed.
I have blogged before on this issue and other related issues – see here – http://www.thedivorceifa.co.uk/pension-sharing/where-is-my-pension-sharing-order
This guidance can be found on the NHS Pensions website “Pension sharing is where a court serves a Pension Sharing Order on the Scheme. When the court orders a pension to be shared, the former spouse or civil partner is allocated a percentage (up to 100%) of the member’s benefits at the effective date of the order. The court order will be sent to NHS Pensions who will acknowledge and implement it as directed.”
In my experience often the court does not send the pension sharing order to the scheme (or it is delayed) and therefore, problems can arise when this paperwork goes missing or is not acted upon.
Often it is left to the individual. I work with clients to ensure that pension sharing orders are drafted correctly in the first place, are appropriately stamped and approved are implemented in a timely manner.
If this is an issue affecting you please contact us.