Pensions have become an important issue in recent years, and are often one of the largest assets the court can deal with within matrimonial proceedings, alongside the family home. The court has three basic options:
Pension sharing - this allows the court to order that a percentage of the
pension fund held by one spouse is to be transferred to a pension fund
for the other spouse. The percentage can range between 0 to 100%.
Independent financial advice is necessary as well as legal advice to
explore this option and to be able to provide the court with full
information as well.
Pension attachment - the court can order that a spouse's pension is
effectively divided on the retirement of that spouse by directing the
Trustees of the pension fund to pay a percentage of the lump sum to be
paid out on retirement to the non pension souse and/or a percentage of
the annual pension income to the non pension spouse each year.
No direct order on the pension - if there is sufficient capital available, or
equity in the matrimonial home, the court can choose to divide the other
matrimonial assets unequally and leave the spouse who holds the
pension with it intact.
The issue of pensions is looked at as part of the picture when dealing with finances as a whole. As with finances generally on marital breakdown, this can be a complex area, and we strongly recommend that you consult us in respect of any financial aspect on relationship breakdown.