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Police Pension and Divorce

Howells Solicitors work very closely with the South Wales and Gwent Police Federations advising officers and staff on police divorce matters.

We hold regular advice surgeries for officers and staff - please check on the South Wales Police Federation website for surgery dates.

We understand how important the right advice can be when you are a police officer going through a separation from your partner. We provide expert advice on all matters relating to custody and children matters as well as legal advice regarding finances and pensions.

Our family department has also recently been commended in the Legal 500 for its excellent work with Police Pensions and acting in cases with substantial assets.

We also have discounted rates available to members on all of our services, so if you are purchasing or selling a home, or require any of our other legal services please do contact and we will provide you with an excellent service and discounted rates for legal fees.

Information regarding Pension Sharing

Pension sharing can apply to any police divorce where proceedings are commenced on or after 1st December 2000.

For many a pension is one of the most valuable assets of a marriage. In England and Wales all pension assets belonging to the couple are taken into account on divorce. In cases of short marriages, the Court will usually only take into account the pension which has been built up during the marriage or period of cohabitation. There has, however, been case law where the court has awarded wives of long marriages pension sharing orders for the whole period the pension has been in existence notwithstanding the fact part of this period has been outside the marriage/cohabitation.

The Court must have regard to any benefits under a pension arrangement which either party has or is likely to have and any benefits which either party may lose by reason of divorce.

There are three ways this can be done:-
  1. Offsetting – you can “offset” against the value of any other asset. The usual way is for the ex-spouse/civil partner to transfer his/her interest in the matrimonial home to the ex-spouse/civil partner. Depending on the ex-spouse’s/civil partner’s income in some cases the ex-spouse/civil partner will also relinquish her/his own (not the children’s) right for a periodical payments order against the ex-spouse/civil partner. This is a clean break situation. What has to be taken into consideration is that if you “offset” you are transferring liquid assets. A pension is not a liquid asset. It is not available in some cases for a number of years.

    What also has to be taken into consideration is that if you have equity of £200,000 in a matrimonial home it does not equate to £200,000 in a pension pot. The person with the pension pot can only take a lump sum of usually around about 25% of the value of the pension pot whilst the remainder will be paid on a monthly basis until the person dies.
  2. Earmarking – this is where all or part of a pension is “earmarked” to be paid to the ex-spouse/civil partner. This is not usual.
  3. Pension sharing – where a “share” of the pension is given to the ex-spouse/civil partner. In England and Wales a pension sharing order can only take place by court order. The amount of any pension to be transferred is usually expressed as a percentage of the CETV and not as a lump sum. There are two ways in which a spouse/civil partner can receive a pension share. They can become a member of their ex-spouse’s/civil partner’s scheme in their own right or be given a transfer to a pension in their own name. As far as police pensions are concerned, these are unfunded schemes and they usually offer scheme membership only.

    Pension sharing offers a clean break solution. It is generally the preferred option for clients who have insufficient assets to offset their pension or have other assets they want to keep.
Civil partners can make an application to the Court for a pension sharing or earmarking order.

If you are thinking about a divorce or want to find out more on family law and how we can help you through these difficult times, then call us on 02920 404018, email us at or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in contact.

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