Devon and Cornwall’s leading family law team has backed calls for more information to be shared about pensions on divorce.
Age UK is calling for a change to the law so that pensions must be considered as part of the divorce process. Currently, when finances are settled out of court, there is no automatic right to know about a spouse’s pension or requirement for the pension to be shared.
“The problem is that many pensions have a very high capital value but that is not necessarily disclosed unless it is requested,” says leading divorce lawyer Liz Allen from Stephens Scown.
“If the couple are under pension age it is very easy for the right to already accumulated pension to be ignored especially if people are acting for themselves, without the support of a lawyer. On line divorce doesn’t deal with this at all so it is really easy for a valuable pension to slip through unnoticed if both sides aren’t properly advised.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that men approaching retirement aged 55-64 have a median pension wealth of £125K, around three times higher than women of the same age.
Liz adds: “The outcome could mean that one spouse – usually the wife – loses out financially. Pensions are complex structures, so it is crucial to have expert legal and actuarial advice.”
Stephens Scown is the only firm in Devon and Cornwall to be top ranked in the legal industry guides of Chambers UK and Legal 500 for its family law work. The team specialises in divorce, particularly involving complex financial issues. Stephens Scown has over 290 staff, including more than 50 partners, across its offices in Exeter, Truro and St Austell. The firm has been listed for four consecutive years in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list.
Liz Allen is one of the UK’s leading divorce solicitors. She is partner and head of the family team at Stephens Scown LLP in Exeter, which has been given the top ranking by independent legal guides Chambers UK and Legal 500. Liz features on the Citywealth Leaders List, an international guide to the most highly regarded figures in private wealth management. To contact Liz or her team, please call 01392 210700, email firstname.lastname@example.org