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Frequently Asked Questions

This is a sample of frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question please contact me here.

The answer to this is YES. All assets form a part of the marital pot. In most instances this would mean an equal share, however, there can be occasions when the split may not be so. For example, in a short marriage.

Yes, so long as the financial settlement has not been agreed and has previously discharged any future pension claims.

Yes, you will need to set up a new pension scheme to receive the transfer. I assume you do not have any other pensions. With regard to the costs of using a financial advisor I would argue you get what you pay for. I would insist on getting good value for money however.

My understanding is that it is not too expensive to get the court paperwork prepared. I would speak to a solicitor on this aspect. As for pension sharing costs the NHS now charges £2,904. This is towards the top end of what we see in terms of pension sharing costs.

You will need to apply for ancillary relief.

An application for financial relief following the presentation of a petition for divorce is described as ancillary relief. The term arises because the financial application is ‘ancillary’ to the petition. The Pension Sharing will be dealt with within this.

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Under most pension schemes (there are exceptions in the Uniformed Services, e.g. Army, RAF, Police) the earliest a pension commencement lump sum can be paid is 55. Often the pension cannot be taken without reduction of the benefits until later, age 60 or age 65.

It is not possible for your wife to simply take over the existing pension. A pension sharing order is needed to make the transfer across to her. She will need to designate a receiving arrangement for the pension credit and decide how to invest the proceeds or if she needs an income how to draw benefits.

Yes. Firstly, how are you expected to manage in retirement? What income sources will you have to support yourself? The court will look at the circumstances of the parties and decide whether this is fair. Do not be bullied in to accepting an offer you do not want. If you can provide further information on your circumstances I will guide you further.

Yes a pension in payment can be subject to a pension sharing order. On divorce a cash equivalent value can be requested for divorce purposes.

You may wish to consider offsetting its value to retain more of the equity. I would consider and satisfy yourself that you are going to be able to provide yourself with income in retirement.

Unfortunately, the NHS will not accept a pension sharing transfer. Therefore, you will need to decide between the benefits on offer from the existing pension scheme via the internal option or those on offer from an external transfer to a personal pension scheme.

I suggest that you check what benefits are on offer for the internal transfer. If the benefits are defined (like final salary ones) then it is highly likely to be in your best interests to take this option. Ask the pension scheme for an illustration of benefits.

Alternatively, they could be money purchase and you may be given a default option. If so ensure that the costs of this option are better than those available externally.

Finally, some internal options have a defined retirement age, say age 60, and if you require the benefits earlier at age 55 for example, then a reduction of benefit is applied for early payment. In some instances trustees have discretion as to allow the early payment of benefits. Make sure this meets with your retirement needs.

It depends if you want to achieve equality of the capital or equality of the income from the pensions. Where two cash equivalents are for exactly the same scheme then this is a like for like comparison.

If capital equalisation is the goal then dividing on this basis is fine as each £1 of cash equivalent is as valuable as the other. But most couples have different pensions and therefore, how do you decide whether they are as valuable as each other. For example, a gold plated public sector pension valued at £100,000 would be more valuable than a personal pension plan worth £100,000. So agreement on the true cash equivalents will be needed otherwise a straight split would be unequitable.

As for income equalisation this looks at what the pensions will pay out in the future and looks to equalise the cash equivalent values so that each person receives the same amount of income at a certain point in the future.

So it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Assuming you have agreed the financial settlement and this is documented in a court stamped consent order then all future claims should be discharged.

However, if you have not settled the finances and have only dealt with the divorce and have a decree absolute then in theory there is no time limit on her bringing a claim.

Yes. All assets potentially form part of the matrimonial split to be divided equally. How it is then subsequently divided will be based on the facts of the marriage and the circumstances and needs of the parties.

If you agree to pension sharing and a part of the pension is transferred into your name then you will not lose the pension rights on remarriage nor should he die.

Partly correct. Actually the state retirement pension is made up of two parts. The first part is the basic state pension and this cannot be shared. However, it is possibly for your ex spouse to substitute your records for theirs if this gives them a better pension figure. There is no cost to either party in doing this.

The second part is known as second state pension and this can be shared. Form BR 20 provides the cash equivalent which can be used in any pension sharing negotiations.

In theory they are in contempt of a court order. But invariably there is no funny stuff going on in these situations. Usually there is a good reason why the pension has not been implemented in a timely manner. Common reasons are:

In truth there can be a number of reasons why. I would speak to the pension scheme involved and find out what is happening.

It is not possible to use the whole of the pension share on divorce to purchase a home. It cannot be released for cash 100% and it is not possible to buy a house within a pension.

It is possible to take a pension commencement lump sum of up to 25% of the cash equivalent. You will need to be age 55 or over to do so.

Therefore, if you need cash for a house you may wish to negotiate to offset your share of the pension cash equivalent against house equity or any other assets. Be mindful of your income needs in retirement though.

Yes, I would expect it to be considered in the financial settlement like all the other assets and income. How much it might be shared by will depend upon the facts, circumstances and needs of the parties / marriage.

Yes, it should have been sent from the court. I would ask for a copy and send it directly. In addition, I would speak to your ex and ensure that he has completed the necessary paperwork for the NHS. One final thing might be that the implementation fee is outstanding. The pension sharing order will confirm how much each of you needs to pay.

Yes it can. But some providers insist that you receive financial advice before they will allow the pension share to be paid in. If you can confirm the details of the schemes and the amounts involved I will be able to guide you further.

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