Pensions - Articles - Divorcing servicepeople losing out over pension confusion


Some military personnel are losing out on hundreds of thousands of pounds when they divorce due to a combination of the unique nature of Armed Forces pensions and lack of understanding.

 That’s the claim from leading expert Jackie Meredith of ORJ Law in Stafford, who said the actions of some unknowledgeable solicitors could amount to negligence.

 Armed Forces pensions schemes are amongst the most generous and valuable in the UK, reflecting the years of sacrifice and service to the country and are very different to a normal workplace pension as they include additional benefits, making them notoriously difficult to value for divorce purposes.

 “Military pensions are extremely complicated and intricate and need to be dealt with very carefully during divorce,” said Jackie. “Just like in the civilian world, military pensions are considered a family asset that can be divided – but if calculations are not done correctly and fairly servicepeople can be left shortchanged.

 “The main problem with military pensions is they are notoriously difficult to value. Servicepeople do not pay into their pension – the value depends on various factors for example the scheme or schemes involved, if there has been any crossover between schemes, the person’s rank, length of service and when they plan on leaving service.

 “There can also be additional pension elements if someone has been forced to retire because of ill health or has been injured in service.

 “I recently advised a client who had divorced and gone through another solicitors to obtain a Pension Sharing Order. The other party was a service member. We were horrified by what we saw, which left the woman terribly disadvantaged. None of these unique attributes had been considered when the Pension Sharing Order was agreed. That client now has a negligence claim under way.”

 Jackie said it was vitally important that pensions are examined with a fine toothcomb by a Pensions Actuary to produce an accurate valuation.

 Jackie added: “Too many servicepeople are getting caught out using divorce lawyers who don’t properly understand the implications when military pensions are not correctly and carefully considered by a reputable Pensions Actuary experienced in dealing with this type of pension and producing calculations for divorce purposes, or alternatively attempting to represent themselves to save money in the financial aspect of their divorce.”
  

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