Sharing a pension on divorce

Filed under : Family Law

In the UK courts there are provisions for sharing a pension or splitting a pension on divorce. In England this is either by a Pension Sharing Order or a Pension Splitting Order. This can be very important where the couple have agreed that one of them does not work and matrimonial assets, including a pension, are built up over a number of years.
If there are sufficient funds available, the pension right can be offset by payment of a lump sum. However, if the principal assets have been divided 50/50 and there is only the pension to deal with, it is very important to get advice before coming to a financial settlement in Spain. This is because if you divorce outside the UK it can be extremely difficult to then bind a UK-based pension company to share or split the pension.
Failure to deal with this issue in a divorce heard in Spain means that you would need to commence an action in the UK. In England, the procedure after a foreign divorce is to apply under the Matrimonial Proceedings Act 1984 in what is commonly called a Part III application.
To do this an application has to be made to the High Court in London with the attendant expense and delays. It can be more practical to apply for the divorce in England to include an application for Pension sharing. However, there is a residence requirement of 12 months immediately before the application is made. You can also make the application if the previous matrimonial home was in England, or if you are considered to be domiciled in England.
Before applying to the courts of Spain or of the UK for a divorce it is important to get advice about your particular circumstances. This is even more vital if there are pension rights to decide.
For more information please email [email protected] or call 952 527 014.