Pensions & Divorce

Pension issues arising on divorce are often very significant: the divorcing couple’s pensions may indeed be the most valuable assets that they possess. However, such pension matters pose a number of complex issues that need to be considered, including:

  • How might we allow for the fact that husband has predominantly defined benefit pensions while those of the wife are defined contribution in nature?
  • Does it matter that the various pensions may be taken at different ages and receive different rates of increase in payment?
  • Should pensions be considered in isolation from other assets via a sharing solution, or taken into account alongside the distribution of other (non-pension) assets?
  • Should all of the parties’ pensions be considered, or just those built up during the marriage?  What might this mean for the calculations?
  • What really is the “fair value” of these various pensions?

We can provide independent actuarial advice in such cases, and we draw on the experience of having produced over 3,000 such reports in the last ten years. Our single joint expert witness reports can be relied upon by the Court, the parties and their instructing solicitors with a view to determining the most equitable way to deal with the pension issues posed as part of the divorce.

Standard report

The services that we can provide in this area are as follows:

  • Gathering of each party’s pension data (through appropriate Letters of Authority) and detailed examination thereafter
  • A detailed assessment of the parties’ pensions, taking account of the intricacies of each pension scheme and including type of pension, retirement ages, pension increases etc.
  • Perform analysis to determine the pension benefits that are to be attributed to the marriage (however defined)
  • Calculations of equality of pension incomes / lump sums in retirement under a Pension Sharing Order
  • Calculations of equality of pension capital values under a Pension Sharing Order, including commentary on what constitutes such “fair value”
  • Calculations of suitable amounts of non-pension capital to be used in lieu of pension sharing i.e. an offsetting solution.
  • Advice upon the practicalities of such arrangements, including how Pension Sharing Orders might be implemented and how they can be combined with offsetting
  • Commentary on other relevant matters as required, including the merits of Pension Attachment Orders, Lifetime Allowance issues, tax-free cash and others

We bring all of the above together in our expert witness report, a document that we pride ourselves on making easy to follow and be understood by whomever reads it.  Each report is bespoke to the specifics of the parties’ pensions and requirements of the Letter of Instruction, but nonetheless our reports reflect the wide body of expertise that our report writers have developed over the years.

Here is a flavour of some of the pension types with which our report writers are well-versed:

  • The specifics of the various public sector pension schemes—NHS, Teachers, Police et al—which have each now been through two major reforms since 2005
  • A myriad of private sector defined benefit pension schemes, each with their own rules, retirement ages, rates of increase and policies on pension sharing
  • Various common-place defined contribution pension arrangements, both contract-based and trust-based occupational arrangements
  • Annuities in payment held by pensioners
  • Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs) and Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) where assets are invested in property or other non-liquid asset classes
  • Legacy pension savings arrangements, including retirement annuity contracts, Section 32 buy-out plans, with-profits policies, those with guaranteed annuity rates and many more

Offsetting-only report

Sometimes the divorcing parties are agreed that there is to be no sharing of pensions, and any difference in the pension assets that each will retain is to be allowed for in the distribution of the non-pension assets e.g. the Former Matrimonial Home.

In such cases, we can provided an abridged, offsetting-only report which deals with appropriate valuations of the parties’ pensions for such purposes and which sets out suitable adjustments that may be required when comparing pension assets with the other non-pension assets. Our approach is fully in keeping with what is discussed in the PAG Report.

Other services

We are also able to provide various other services in respect of pensions matters upon divorce to assist you. These include:

  • Conference calls with solicitors / barristers as required after report is issued
  • Attendance in Court as required to give oral evidence
  • Single instructions where advice is sought only by one party
  • Shadowing of reports written by other experts (usually at the behest of just one of the parties, rather than a joint instruction)
  • Advice upon the composition of a Letter of Instruction (in cases where we are not to be appointed as the single joint expert witness)

How to instruct us

Where we are asked to serve as a single joint expert, we normally take instruction in such divorce cases only from solicitors i.e. we require that parties are represented, rather than acting as Litigant in Person.

Direct instruction from unrepresented individuals in respect of single joint expert witness work will only be countenanced in very limited circumstances, and we will always require that at least one of the parties has legal representation. The reason for this is that there are a number of protocols with which a single joint expert must comply, in particular around being able to demonstrate impartiality and objectivity.  This is much more easily achieved where both parties are represented by solicitors.

However, we are content to consider direct instructions from unrepresented individuals where we are not bound by the constraints of serving as a single joint expert.

Find the service for your needs

Pensions & Divorce
Pensions & Divorce
Loss of Pension Rights
Loss of Pension Rights
Life interests in Will Trusts
Life interests in Will Trusts
Negligence Claims
Negligence Claims

Pension issues arising on divorce are often very significant: the divorcing couple’s pensions may indeed be the most valuable assets that they possess. However, such pension matters pose a number of complex issues that need to be considered.

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Pensions & Divorce

We are able to provide an assessment of loss of pension rights for use in legal proceedings and employment tribunals. An individual may lose pension rights following the action of others, for example, through unfair dismissal or through an accident (whether at work or otherwise).

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Loss of Pension Rights

Another area where we can provide actuarial support is with respect to the valuation of life interests in Will Trusts. This is where a Will Trust has been written to provide benefits for an individual for the remainder of his/her life.

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Life interests in Will Trusts

We are able to provide assistance in cases where claims of negligence in pensions matters are brought against legal advisors following a divorce.

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Negligence Claims
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