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Divorce and Pension: increase in pension attachment orders

Divorce and Pension: increase in pension attachment orders

Divorce brings many matter to hand including pensions.

Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets in a marriage, following property.

Figures obtained by Nockolds finds the number of pension attachment orders made by family courts has doubled since 2011. This is despite divorce petition numbers decreasing over the same period.

What is a pension attachment order?

A pension attachment order earmarks and gives you part or all of your ex spouse/civil partner’s pension benefits.

Age of divorcees is increasing

Office of National Statistics figures show that the average age at divorce is increasing year on year. Currently the average age for a divorcing man is 46.4 years and woman is 43.9.

Samantha Lee, head of family law at Swain & Co Solicitors explains,

“As the average age for divorcing parties increases, so do the complexities in financial settlements. Often, there are substantial marital assets accrued, and a pension is one of the more complex and large assets to settle. However, more people are DIY divorcing and this may explain the increase in pension attachment orders. It could be a mistake.”

Samantha continues,

“Pension attachment orders may not be the best remedy. The orders do not stop your ex from moving money out of the pension and it also does not make them continue to pay in. So, unless they are already drawing the pension from the pot, it may not be effective.

Sometimes people want a clean break from their ex. Pension attachment orders do not provide this.

A pension sharing order may be more appropriate. It divides the pension assets at the point of divorce so you can be paid a lump sum into your own pension pot, or start a new pension scheme. This leaves you in control of the money and can plan ahead and financial break away.”

It is important to understand the options available when reaching financial settlements in divorce.

Samantha and her team offer free initial telephone consultations to discuss possible options.

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