Couples who finalised their divorce before 2000 should take immediate measures to protect their share of any pensions or suffer significant losses advise family specialists at Linder Myers Solicitors.
Under recent pension reforms couples who were divorced before pension sharing orders became widely used are exposed to the risk of their ex-partner withdrawing their entire pension from the age of 55 – including any share provided for them as part of an earmarking order.
Colin Davies, family specialist at Linder Myers Solicitors commented: “Prior to the recent changes couples who had agreed to an earmarking order as part of their financial settlement on divorce would have the peace of mind that on retiring, they would have an agreed monthly income from the party whose pension pot was the greater of the two.
“The reforms mean that this is no longer protected so the party whose pension was to be shared is now free to withdraw the full amount once they reach the age of 55 leaving their ex-partner with no pension to fall back on unless they have made their own provisions.”
Consent orders for couples divorcing since 2000 have used pension sharing orders or pension offsetting arrangements both of which are unaffected by the pension reforms.
Colin Davies continued: “While the changes to how pensions can be accessed and used was intended to provide the benefit of flexibility, the knock on effect is that many will be left vulnerable with the possibility of having their planned retirement income legally confiscated. It’s recommended that anyone who finalised their divorce prior to 2000 seek legal advice with a view to taking precautionary measures.”
ENDSFind out more about our Family department Read ‘A complete legal guide to divorce and separation’