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Divorce settlement advice: don’t forget pensions

After a couple have made the decision to divorce, deciding on how they will divide their assets is likely to prove an extremely difficult task. It is, however, also an absolutely vital one with the money gleaned by each party certain to be used for a new home and anything else needed to effectively begin their lives anew.

Those that negotiate settlements are fully aware of this and are, as a result, likely to leave no stone unturned – no asset unreviewed – when assessing potential arrangements. Sadly, when the parties go it alone and decide against obtaining advice, one asset is often forgotten about: their pensions.

Often, people are unaware of the fact that their partner’s pension is something to which they will almost certainly have a reasonable claim. The basis of a fair and equitable divorce settlement is, after all, that both spouses are likely to be entitled to any asset if they contributed to its accumulation and, as any retirement funds either party has accumulated will have at the very least grown throughout the course of the marriage, this will clearly apply. When this is coupled with the fact that pensions are, after property, likely to be a couple’s most valuable asset, it becomes evident why it’s vital that they be considered when formulating a settlement.

Unfortunately, a recent study, conducted by charity Age UK, has revealed that many spouses are missing out on a share of their soon-to-be former partner’s pension because they are not being informed of their entitlement to it. The charity also claimed that women are far more likely to lose out and that, as 40% of women aged between 55 and 70 are known to be heavily reliant on their spouses’ pensions in retirement, the potential effects of failing to claim a portion of this asset can be truly devastating.

The charity has called for private pensions to be considered in all divorces and for the equal division of the relevant funds to become standard practice, claiming that this represents a vital step in the overall fight for gender equality.

Ultimately, all assets will need to have been disclosed to both parties in order to for any agreement or settlement to be binding. If the value of a pension was not disclosed, then the settlement can be challenged and altered. Anyone that thinks they may have been affected by this should seek legal advice immediately.

Alternatively, if you’ve been lucky enough to agree how you and your spouse will divide your assets, including your pensions, you can keep more of your money and make your agreement legally binding with a clean break divorce from Quickie Divorce.

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