Ending a marriage can be highly stressful. Apart from emotional issues there are practical matters that have to be dealt with. One such issue is pensions.  In this article we talk about the Teacher’s Pension Scheme.

If you are seeking to bring claims against your spouse’s Teacher Pension Scheme benefits or perhaps prevent your husband or wife from bringing such claims, it is important that thought is given to the scheme and how it operates.

Often, spouses without the pension benefits will either (a) not realise they are able to seek a share of it, or (b) decide not to pursue a share of their spouse’s scheme benefits. They will not make the right enquiries of their spouse or, even once they have done so, not identify the right information that needs to dictate how their claims should be framed.

The reality is that membership of the Teacher’s Pension Scheme can be an extremely valuable commodity in divorce proceedings by providing an inflation proof income and tax free lump sum on retirement.

Membership will take the form of 2010 Final Salary benefits or a 2015 CARE (Career Averaged Revalued Earnings) pension, or a combination of both depending on the periods the member has worked.

Benefits from the 2010 scheme can be taken from age 60 and from the 2015 can be taken at state pension age (currently 67).

When looking at the value of these benefits and the approach to be taken to their division it can be important not to overlook the question as to whether the member is to stay in teaching employment after a pension share is to take effect.

Intended retirement age can also have a massive impact on the approach that is taken to pension division. These questions are relevant both to a division of 2010 and 2015 scheme benefits.

When dealing with these issues for someone seeking to bring the claim it is often vital to instruct an actuary. How the instructions to the actuary are framed can have a significant bearing on the resultant findings and the eventual division that is ordered. Advice from solicitors experienced in dealing with the TPS in its various forms can prove invaluable.

Andrew Barton is a partner in the family law team at Stephens Scown in Exeter. To discuss divorce issues contact Andrew, please call 01392 210700 or email enquiries@stephens-scown.co.uk