Example case study: negotiating a Pension Sharing Order

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The following case study is based on a matter that our divorce finance solicitors typically take on.

Our divorce finance solicitors advised a client on the division of her husband’s pension during their divorce. The couple, Laura and Jeremy, cohabited for three years before their 31-year marriage. Laura instructed our solicitors to advise on the division of Jeremy’s pension as part of their divorce.

Ring-fencing of pre-marital pension contributions

Jeremy had a fire service pension which was in payment at the time of their divorce proceedings and was much more valuable than our client’s. Jeremy had structured his pension so that a Pension Sharing Order (PSO) would be in his favour.

Laura’s career as a Teaching Assistant had left her with a small pension that would require her to work into her 70s. She believed she was entitled to a share of her ex-husband’s pension due to their long marriage and the imbalance of their earnings and pensions. Jeremy suggested that the pre-marital contributions to his pension should be ring-fenced, and was reluctant to share his pension pot.

Can you ring-fence a pension?

Pensions are considered a joint marital asset and how much the other party receives of it depends on how much of the pension was earned during the marriage. The court will look at the finances/income and ‘needs’ of each party, and see if they have enough to live off of once they become independent from each other.

Because Laura had a much smaller pension and would ‘need’ a share of Jeremy’s pension, it could not be ring-fenced.

Obtaining independent financial information

First, we referred our client to one of our recommended financial planners for independent pension advice. Our divorce solicitors also received a joint report from a financial services company and other experts, which took six months. Obtaining this information about the couple’s pension enabled us to determine the next steps in dividing their finances.

Once we had information about the couple’s income, assets and the total value of their pension, we moved on to the negotiation between our client and her ex-partner.

Negotiating a financial agreement through mediation

Our client and her ex-husband were able to make a collaborative agreement through mediation, with the support of our divorce finance solicitors.

As a result, a PSO was settled in our client’s favour.

The Order took into account the entirety of the pension pots and other information obtained about the couple’s financial assets and relationship history. This took into account the fact that our client had a much lower income and would be required to work past retirement age to sustain the lifestyle that she would have had without the breakdown of their marriage.

The PSO outlined that our client would get a percentage share of her ex-husband’s pension.

Contact our divorce finance solicitors

During divorce and separation, it can be difficult to make decisions together regarding finances. Our divorce solicitors can support you to conclude amicably and fairly.

To speak to our divorce finance solicitors, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form. We work with separating couples across Bristol and the surrounding area in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury.


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