Pension Sharing Order
In addition to a separation agreement we can also provide a pension sharing order.
Pensions that have been paid into during a marriage are regarded as matrimonial assets and are therefore capable of being shared as part of an overall settlement.
The way a pension is valued is normally very straightforward. The person with a pension simply writes to their pension provider and asks for what is called a Cash Equivalent Transfer Valuation. This is a notional figure which shows the amount that your pension provider would transfer to another pension if e.g. you changed jobs and wanted your existing pension transferred to your new employer’s pension. This is given in the form of a lump sum.
The valuation should be the value as at the date of your separation and anything accrued before marriage or after the date of separation is excluded. Most pension providers will give an actual figure for the matrimonial part of the pension but some will just give the whole value in which case you would apportion out whatever accrued before marriage or after separation.
The matrimonial part of the valuation is then added to the value of any other assets and the total value of the matrimonial assets is divided fairly with fairly meaning equally in most cases.
Depending on how the figures work out there may be a portion of your pension to be shared with your spouse. This usually means that the agreed portion of your pension would be transferred from your pension to your spouse’s pension. An agreement is prepared and signed and, once the divorce has been granted, the agreement and the decree are sent to your pension provider and they set up the transfer.
Most pension providers will charge an admin fee for doing this and you would agree with your spouse who is to pay that.
There are special rules for certain pensions such as the police or armed forces where their rules do not allow the share of the pension that is to go to your spouse to be transferred to another pension. In these cases they set up a pension with them for your spouse.
This is a general guide as to how pensions are dealt with but there can be particular circumstances where things will differ.
The pension sharing order is to be paid for in addition to the separation agreement and the total cost is £400 plus the £22 registration fee.