Do I need a Pension Sharing Order?

GEPP

2 May 2024

By Stuart Tyler

Understanding the role of a Pension Sharing Order

The Court has various powers when dealing with financial matters, one of which is a Pension Sharing Order (PSO). A PSO involves an agreed percentage of one individual’s pension being transferred to their spouse. In the legal world, pensions are not considered straightforward and expert legal and financial advice should be sort at the earliest opportunity. Not every case warrants a PSO, and therefore you should first seek legal advice to determine whether a PSO would be appropriate in your case.

Assessing suitability: initial steps

To first establish whether a PSO would be appropriate, you and your spouse need to obtain a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) total, which will outline the monetary value of your pension asset. If you have more than one pension scheme, it is highly recommended that you obtain a CETV total for each of your pensions.

Securing necessary information: obtaining CETV totals

Typically, you should receive an annual statement from your pension provider confirming the CETV total, but this will likely be dependent on your pension provider. If you are unable to find your annual statement, or you have not been provided one, then you can request a CETV total from your pension provider at anytime in the year. It is important that you obtain an updated CETV total before considering whether a PSO is appropriate in your case.

Considerations and consultations: legal perspectives

When considering if a PSO is appropriate, as your legal advisors, we will need to consider subjective factors, such as the needs of the parties, the length of marriage, including seamless cohabitation, the age of the parties, the disparity in pension provisions, and the type of pension provisions that any one of the parties may possess. Please note that this is not an extensive list, and we recommend that you first seek legal advice to discuss further.

Navigating complexity: expert guidance on pensions

Considering the complexities of pensions, it may be prudent for you to seek advice from an expert to assist when considering a fair and reasonable division of the available pension provisions. This will be more apparent when considering Defined Benefit pensions, and/or uniformed pensions, such as the Police, Armed Forces, Fire Service, Local Authority, and NHS practitioners. Expert advice can be very beneficial, and in most cases, necessary, to achieve a desirable outcome that reflects a fair and reasonable settlement, especially when considering a PSO.

Broad scope: exploring state pension eligibility

A PSO is not just restrictive to workplace pensions, or private pensions. A PSO can also look at an individual’s eligibility to a State Pension. Dependent on the parties ages, it may be appropriate to obtain documentation confirming an individual’s forecasted eligibility to a State Pension, or their current entitlement if they have reached the State Pension age. A forecast can be obtained of your State Pension on the government website.

Collaboration for clarity: legal and financial synergy

When considering financial matters, it is important that the potential of a PSO is not overlooked or ignored. Due to the complexities of a PSO, it is important to obtain legal advice, as well as expert financial advice, at the earliest opportunity. Here at Gepp Solicitors we feel that collaboration with Financial Advisors not only assures a fair and reasonable settlement for clients, but also assures that accurate advice is provided to both the solicitor and client from the outset.

If you find yourself navigating through a financial settlement with your spouse, or you just require a confidential chat with one of our professional and friendly members of our Family Team who can advise you further about your position, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01245 228116, or by email at familyenq@gepp.co.uk.