In fact pensions can be substantial capital assets and all pensions have a capital value (the Cash Equivalent Value) which it is vital to obtain as part of a divorce.
Since 2000 the Court has had the power to share pensions between spouses on divorce, providing a tax efficient and cost effective way of achieving a clean break.
The firm has been at the forefront of advice on pension sharing since it was introduced – in fact we obtained the first reverse pension sharing order in the country. We have established links with pension experts and actuaries who can offer specific solutions and calculations depending on the type of pension involved.
Pensions take many different forms – they can be simple cash or stock market investments, they can be held in property or they can be occupational, government or otherwise. It is vital that specialist legal and financial advice is taken when comparing different types of pension within a divorce. Occupational and armed/uniform services pensions often have hidden value not immediately apparent from their cash value.
The availability of state pensions is another important consideration as a dependent spouse will not always have made sufficient National Insurance contributions to obtain a full state pension and therefore a compensating adjustment may be needed in any financial settlement.
Pension sharing is not the only option available. It is possible for the settlement to deal with pensions by offsetting the value of the scheme against other assets to avoid sharing the pension or earmarking the pension to pay out an income or lump sum without the main scheme being shared. This is a highly technical area requiring legal advice as the true value of the pension and the appropriate adjustment is not always obvious.
Our family law team has been ranked as the best in Devon and Cornwall by Chambers and The Legal 500, the two leading independent legal guides. Combining sensitivity with sound legal advice, you can rely on us to help you achieve the best possible outcome.