Including Pensions as an Asset During Divorce
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During a divorce, a common outcome when dividing assets is a 50/50 split.
However, every divorce is different and the splitting of assets can vary – including the division of your pension.
It’s important to measure the worth of your pension when filing for a divorce, as it’s often one of the most valuable assets.
Although there is no set way to divide pensions during a divorce, there are three ways to share pensions including offsetting, attachment orders and pension sharing orders.
One of the mostimportant assets during a divorce is your pension. Not only are they part of the overall financial settlement between both parties, but they also help to provide a stable income after retirement.
In England and Wales, the entire value of pensions is considered during a divorce. Not only will the pension that both parties built during the marriage be taken into account, but the courts can also consider the pensions acquired before the relationship too.
When offsetting pensions, the value of any pension is offset against other assets. This means that one party will keep the pension and in return, the other party receives a greater share of the other assets.
However, it’s important to remember that offsetting isn’t an option if there are not enough assets unrelated to the pension.
A pension attachment order is a way of allowing the party without a pension to continue to receive some income from their ex-partner in the future.
In this case, the court can also order that some or all survivor pension or lump sum death benefits must be paid to the partner if thepension holder dies .
However, some disadvantages come with attachment orders, especially for the partner who does not have a pension. For example, one party must wait until the pension holder chooses to retire to reap the benefits of the pension. The pension holder also has full control over the investment decisions which they make, often creating financial uncertainty.
Pension sharing works by splitting the pension benefits at the time of divorce. This allows the assets to be carved out during the divorce, allowing both parties to achieve a clean break.
If one partner does not have a pension, they will receive a share of the other party’s pension, also known as pension benefits. The party that receives pension benefits will receive ‘pension credit’, whereas the party who is losing pension benefits will receive ‘pension debit’.
Going through a divorce is difficult, and with the added stress of pension division, we know how hard it can be to reach a settlement.