There are so many things to think about on divorce that the last thing on anyone’s mind is whether their state pension (SERPS or S2P or second state pension) has any real value, what income it will provide and whether it should be shared.
Pension sharing on divorce has come a long way since the millenium – it has had to, to keep pace with the changes in society and pensions generally. There are so many types of pensions these days - all with different scheme rules - that pension sharing has become a specialist area in itself with very few solicitors having the right level of expertise to advise.
It is not uncommon for spouses to completely forget about any pensions they may have when thinking about dividing their assets. Often pensions are the most valuable asset of a marriage. But even when clients have remembered to include the value of their pensions in the discussions, they rarely have given any consideration to their state pensions.
To be able to share the state pension (SERPS) the person who is to receive the pension share must have reached state pension age before 6 April 2016 or have issued their divorce petition prior to this date. An alternative might be to apply for enhancement of your own national insurance contribution record by reference to your spouse’s own record – to boost the state pension entitlement.
To be able to receive advice about whether to share your spouse’s state pension, you will need to know the state pension retirement ages – www.gov.uk/state-pension-age It is also possible to gain information about the pension credit system and a forecast of what income you are likely to receive from the state pension (including SERPS) from this website – all of which are useful even if you are not intending to divorce at any time!
Even if you are not able to share the state pension on divorce there is still the possibility of the income being included when any maintenance calculation is considered. There may be other pensions to consider. The rule is to look at every asset and every source of income. Obtain early legal advice from a Resolution accredited specialist who is experienced in pension sharing on divorce.
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