A pension sharing order can be complicated, but they ensure fair division of a couple’s wealth when they divorce. Here, we’ll tell you how to get one, and what to do if it all goes wrong.
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What is a Pension Sharing Order?
A pension sharing order is normally issued as a result of a divorce to ensure a couple’s financial resources are shared equally once the marriage is over. They’re normally negotiated by solicitors as part of a divorce settlement.
There is no legal requirement for a husband or wife to surrender part of their pension in a divorce settlement, so a percentage must be agreed between the couple and their solicitors. If they cannot agree on how their pensions should be split, then the courts will have to take all assets into account and determine the conditions under the order in a manner they see as fair.
Do we have to go to court?
Yes. Though you can divide your other assets, such as your home and any savings you have, without going to court, your pension scheme will need an order from a court before they can divide a pension.
That doesn’t mean you have to get up on a stand and fight. You can determine the conditions of the pension sharing order as part of your divorce agreement. In this case, you’ll only need a consent order from the court to proceed.
How Do I Get A Pension Sharing Order From The Court?
In order to attain your pension sharing order, you’ll have completed a Form P1, which you’ll have submitted alongside your court order. The Form P1 contains essential information, and it will be sent to your pension provider once the court order is issued. Once they have received it, they have a set amount of time in which to implement the pension sharing order.
That time is usually four months from the date of the Decree Absolute.
The Form P1 will also determine who is going to pay any charges owed to the pension provider.
Who Send The Form P1 To The Pension Scheme?
The court should tell you who is responsible for sending the form on to the relevant pension scheme.
Sometimes the court sends this themselves.
Make sure you pay attention, because if your pension sharing order is not sent on, it can complicate the process further down the line.
I Don’t Know Who Sent On My Court Order And Form P1
Call the court office and find out from your file who was responsible for passing the details on. You’ll need your case number and the date your court order was issued.
If the court order did not include information regarding who should send the details on, then you need to go back to your solicitor. They’ll keep your details for six years after the end of the case.
Read through your file and your communications with them, as they may have stipulated who was responsible for sending on the documents at some point during the case.
If it was the court, you need to complain to the Pensions Ombudsman. If it was your solicitor, then you need to convince them to take steps to correct their mistake. If it was you, it’s probably time to contact your ex.
I Was Supposed To Forward On The Form P1 And Paperwork, But I Didn’t
Your ex will be aware that you have not had your share of their pension. Now is the time to ask them to uphold the order that was agreed. This is possible even if the original scheme this was agreed against has been merged with another scheme.
The order will continue to be effective until it has been discharged or varied, but you might find that your ex has argued to discharge because he or she believed they had done their very best to comply with it, and you had not held up your to responsibilities.
Can My Ex Get The Money If I Haven’t Forwarded The Form P1 And Court Order On?
Yes. If your ex has merged their pension scheme and you have not claimed what was entitled to you under the pension sharing order, those funds are available to your ex.
What Do I Do Now?
If you were responsible for sending on the paperwork and you didn’t, and your ex does not want to comply with the terms of the original pension sharing order, you might have to go back to court.
If your ex was in charge, they are probably in contempt, and it is in their best interest to comply with the court order immediately.
If your solicitor is at fault, see if you can find another solicitor to act on a no-win no-fee basis, as you are probably entitled to damages for the inconvenience caused. Your original solicitor should now set about correcting their mistake.
If you need more help and support, contact us.