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Pensions- Divorce and Death

How do you feel about pensions? Do you wish you had listened to your dad and started paying into one when you were younger? Would you rather invest your money elsewhere?

If you are getting divorced then any pension provision you have will need to be considered. Maitland Walker Solicitors, based in Taunton, Minehead and London can give you family law advice.

Please note solicitors are not qualified to give financial advice!

Divorce

When you get divorced, and are considering the division of assets, you will need to consider many things including current income, future earning capacity, property assets, cash & pensions. There should be full and frank financial disclosure. A pension might be one of the biggest assets and can be shared on divorce. It can be transferred out of the name of one person and put into a ‘new’ pension in the other spouses’ name. Pensions can be equalised by “pot value” (known as a CEV- cash equivalent value) or to give an equal income. Also, pensions can be ‘offset’. This means that one spouse retains their pension and the other spouse gets a larger share of the other assets.

We will need to look at whether the pension is a matrimonial asset and whether it should be shared. This depends on various factors (s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973), including length of the marriage, age, needs and contributions made.

You should seek legal advice to make sure you are not missing out on pension provision or giving up too much.

If you are not able to reach an amicable agreement then court proceedings can be commenced and the court can impose an order on the parties. It is always better to try and negotiate.

Death

Whilst on the topic of pensions, great news for same sex married couples. There has been a recent case (Walker v Innospec Limited and others [2017]) which has given same sex married couples the same pension rights following the death of their spouse. It was held that an exemption in the Equality Act 2010 was breaching EU law and was discriminatory. Before that pension companies only had to give pension benefits to a heterosexual surviving spouse.

If you are a same sex couple and have any questions or concerns about this ruling then please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Preedy.

If you have any questions about divorce, separation or the related financial matters then please do not hesitate to contact Lauren on Taunton 01823 745777 or Minehead 01643 707777