My ex-wife and I divorced more than 10 years ago and it was amicable.
We agreed to a split of assets but unfortunately did not tackle my pension accrued up till we separated and I now wish to rectify this amicably.
At the time we didn’t have a court order to split our assets as we did so voluntarily.
Is it still possible to split the pension pot even if there isn’t a court order? We’re both in our mid-50s, haven’t taken any pension and both still work full time.
Division of assets: Can you split a pension pot years after a divorce was finalised?
Tracey Moloney, head of family law for Co-op Legal Services, replies: Given a financial order has not yet been made by the court then both parties are at liberty to apply to the court for one, regardless of how long they have been divorced.
Without an order in place, the spouse can make a claim at any time after divorce and seek a portion of the client’s assets, even if those assets were accumulated post marriage.
Pension share orders are limited to the contributions made during the marriage and as such any pension contribution made post-divorce will not be included in the settlement.
A sealed order will be needed from the court in order to provide the pension provider with the authority necessary to split the pension.
The pension provider will need to be notified prior to the order being sealed that an order is to be made in these terms and the parties need to give some thought to whether they request an internal or external transfer – in other words, whether they want to keep their now separate funds with the same firm, or move them elsewhere.
Tracey Moloney: ‘Pension share orders are limited to the contributions made during the marriage’
It is important to check with the pension provider as not all of them allow external transfers.
The split of pension is 50:50 but limited to contributions made during the period of marriage and can be done at any time after the divorce.
Thereafter the order should provide for a clean break to eliminate the ability to make any future claims.
Given the parties also agreed the split of assets at the time of the divorce, these agreements should also be recorded in the order as either ‘recitals’ or ‘agreements’ so that an official record is available to prevent further application being made in the future.
A solicitor would be needed to draft and then sign the consent order as confirmation to the court that the parties have taken independent legal advice. Both parties would require a solicitor.
To give you an idea of the cost, we offer a fixed fee consent order to include pensions for £850 plus vat. The other side, meaning your ex-wife, would be looking at costs of around £200–£300 for a meeting with their solicitor.
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