Frequently Asked Questions

This is a sample of frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question please contact me here.

I have a pension paid to me for the last 18 years. I am in the process of getting divorced. I have been asked to supply details of my pension and have been told that even though I have been paid my pension and it was used in family expenditure i.e. it pai

The answer to this is YES. All assets form a part of the marital pot. In most instances this would mean an equal share, however, there can be occasions when the split may not be so. For example, in a short marriage.

Is it possible to claim pension sharing once the divorce has been finalised?

Yes, so long as the financial settlement has not been agreed and has previously discharged any future pension claims.

I have an AVC with Abbey Life transferred to me from my ex husband as part of a settlement, however, as Abbey Life no longer take new business I am struggling to find somewhere to put it. I don’t seem to be able to get the right advice without going to a

Yes, you will need to set up a new pension scheme to receive the transfer. I assume you do not have any other pensions. With regard to the costs of using a financial advisor I would argue you get what you pay for. I would insist on getting good value for money however.

My wife and I divorced a couple of years ago. The sharing of all assets except my pension has been agreed. We have agreed the % split of my NHS pension. How much would it cost to obtain a court order bringing about the sharing? Are there other costs?

My understanding is that it is not too expensive to get the court paperwork prepared. I would speak to a solicitor on this aspect. As for pension sharing costs the NHS now charges £2,904. This is towards the top end of what we see in terms of pension sharing costs.

My husband left me 6 years ago and has now served me with a divorce petition. Once I have completed and sent the form back to court, when will the process for asking for pension sharing come into force?

You will need to apply for ancillary relief.

An application for financial relief following the presentation of a petition for divorce is described as ancillary relief. The term arises because the financial application is ‘ancillary’ to the petition. The Pension Sharing will be dealt with within this.

My daughter is divorcing her husband, they are both in their 30s can she get a cash lump sum from his pension now as there is no other assets?

Unfortunately, this is not possible. Under most pension schemes (there are exceptions in the Uniformed Services, e.g. Army, RAF, Police) the earliest a pension commencement lump sum can be paid is 55. Often the pension cannot be taken without reduction of the benefits until later, age 60 or age 65.

I have 2 pensions of which I have agreed to transfer one to my wife as part of divorce settlement. I find that this is not possible and need to arrange a pension share order and make an external transfer. The idea was for my wife to take over the contribu

It is not possible for your wife to simply take over the existing pension. A pension sharing order is needed to make the transfer across to her. She will need to designate a receiving arrangement for the pension credit and decide how to invest the proceeds or if she needs an income how to draw benefits.

I have recently divorced but the final details have not been ironed out. I am unable to afford a solicitor and my ex has sent a solicitors letter asking me to agree not to apply for his pension. For the sake of my children I feel I need to apply for this

Yes. Firstly, how are you expected to manage in retirement? What income sources will you have to support yourself? The court will look at the circumstances of the parties and decide whether this is fair. Do not be bullied in to accepting an offer you do not want. If you can provide further information on your circumstances I will guide you further.

If a pension is in payment would a soon to be ex wife be able to claim part of that pension, or is it necessary to offset with say a lump sum from joint asset such as a house?

Yes a pension in payment can be subject to a pension sharing order. On divorce a cash equivalent value can be requested for divorce purposes.

You may wish to consider offsetting its value to retain more of the equity. I would consider and satisfy yourself that you are going to be able to provide yourself with income in retirement.

I will be getting a pension sharing order for part of my husband’s pension and my NHS pension will not accept a transfer. Should I ask for an internal transfer or accept an external transfer to a personal pension scheme? I have the choice.

Unfortunately, the NHS will not accept a pension sharing transfer. Therefore, you will need to decide between the benefits on offer from the existing pension scheme via the internal option or those on offer from an external transfer to a personal pension scheme.

I suggest that you check what benefits are on offer for the internal transfer. If the benefits are defined (like final salary ones) then it is highly likely to be in your best interests to take this option. Ask the pension scheme for an illustration of benefits.

Alternatively, they could be money purchase and you may be given a default option. If so ensure that the costs of this option are better than those available externally.

Finally, some internal options have a defined retirement age, say age 60, and if you require the benefits earlier at age 55 for example, then a reduction of benefit is applied for early payment. In some instances trustees have discretion as to allow the early payment of benefits. Make sure this meets with your retirement needs.

My husband and I both have pensions – we know the CETV. To calculate what one person owes the other is it simply the difference between the two? Should we be adjusting for the amount of income each will receive when the pensions are put into payment?

It depends if you want to achieve equality of the capital or equality of the income from the pensions. Where two cash equivalents are for exactly the same scheme then this is a like for like comparison.

If capital equalisation is the goal then dividing on this basis is fine as each £1 of cash equivalent is as valuable as the other. But most couples have different pensions and therefore, how do you decide whether they are as valuable as each other. For example, a gold plated public sector pension valued at £100,000 would be more valuable than a personal pension plan worth £100,000. So agreement on the true cash equivalents will be needed otherwise a straight split would be unequitable.

As for income equalisation this looks at what the pensions will pay out in the future and looks to equalise the cash equivalent values so that each person receives the same amount of income at a certain point in the future.

So it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

How long after being divorced does my ex wife have to obtain a pension sharing order or is there no time limit on getting a pension sharing order?

Assuming you have agreed the financial settlement and this is documented in a court stamped consent order then all future claims should be discharged.

However, if you have not settled the finances and have only dealt with the divorce and have a decree absolute then in theory there is no time limit on her bringing a claim.

Is a pension split between partners in a divorce settlement and if so how is it split and if savings and shares are involved in one name only are proceeds split equally?

Yes. All assets potentially form part of the matrimonial split to be divided equally. How it is then subsequently divided will be based on the facts of the marriage and the circumstances and needs of the parties.

Confused on pension sharing. My husband has the pension which I am considering to either take a share of or have the home. If I were to re-marry would I lose the pension rights and if my current husband dies does the pension end there or will it continue

If you agree to pension sharing and a part of the pension is transferred into your name then you will not lose the pension rights on remarriage nor should he die.

Am I correct in assuming that the state retirement pension is not divided upon divorce?

Partly correct. Actually the state retirement pension is made up of two parts. The first part is the basic state pension and this cannot be shared. However, it is possibly for your ex spouse to substitute your records for theirs if this gives them a better pension figure. There is no cost to either party in doing this.

The second part is known as second state pension and this can be shared. Form BR 20 provides the cash equivalent which can be used in any pension sharing negotiations.

What happens if an ex spouse goes over the 4 months allowed to implement a pension sharing order?

In theory they are in contempt of a court order. But invariably there is no funny stuff going on in these situations. Usually there is a good reason why the pension has not been implemented in a timely manner. Common reasons are:

  • Court paperwork missing, incomplete or incorrect.
  • Outstanding charges
  • No indication of where the pension share is to be transferred.

In truth there can be a number of reasons why. I would speak to the pension scheme involved and find out what is happening.

Would I be able to use the pension settlement to buy a home?

It is not possible to use the whole of the pension share on divorce to purchase a home. It cannot be released for cash 100% and it is not possible to buy a house within a pension.

It is possible to take a pension commencement lump sum of up to 25% of the cash equivalent. You will need to be age 55 or over to do so.

Therefore, if you need cash for a house you may wish to negotiate to offset your share of the pension cash equivalent against house equity or any other assets. Be mindful of your income needs in retirement though.

If I am already drawing my pension has my divorcing wife any rights to it?

Yes, I would expect it to be considered in the financial settlement like all the other assets and income. How much it might be shared by will depend upon the facts, circumstances and needs of the parties / marriage.

My ex and I divorced earlier this year, decree absolute granted. I have an NHS pension, and had agreed to share this, transferring 25% of the cash equivalent to him. An annex the court order was stamped, but the NHS pension agency has had no notification

Yes, it should have been sent from the court. I would ask for a copy and send it directly. In addition, I would speak to your ex and ensure that he has completed the necessary paperwork for the NHS. One final thing might be that the implementation fee is outstanding. The pension sharing order will confirm how much each of you needs to pay.

I have a pension sharing order as I am now divorced. I want to put my ex husbands pension into my current pension. My current pension provider said that I need financial advice. Can this be done?

Yes it can. But some providers insist that you receive financial advice before they will allow the pension share to be paid in. If you can confirm the details of the schemes and the amounts involved I will be able to guide you further.

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