Doug RichardsonWelcome to my website, my name is Doug Richardson, I am a fully qualified financial planner with over 20 years of experience within the Financial Services Industry, currently I am based in Colchester, Essex.

From the Hoskin Financial Planning office in Maldon, Essex I provide advice to my clients, predominantly throughout Essex but also in many other areas, having clients in Norfolk, Suffolk, and London.

I pride myself in being able to give advice in an easy to understand jargon free manner.

Having been qualified to a high standard for a number of years, holding the Chartered Insurance Institutes Financial Planning Certificate, along with the Institute of Financial Services certificate in Mortgage advice and Practice, I have continued to study and have achieved Diploma status via IFS, Diploma for Financial Advisers (DipFa) a higher qualification required by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to continue providing advice post 2012. I also hold the Equity Release qualification allowing me to advise in this rapidly growing area of Financial Advice.

However more recently I have been working on cases involving family disputes, pension shearing and divorce maters.

How Your Pension Is Affected By Divorce

What goes into dividing a pension when a divorce takes place?

Going through the process of divorce is difficult. Dealing with the more long term issues when the emotional and more immediate can take precedent is one of the most challenging obstacles you can face.

Fairly distributing pension funds can come down to a judge’s decision. A pension fund is viewed in law the same as any other asset belonging to a married couple. A judge has the right to award whatever percentage they deem fitting to either party.

‘Pension sharing’ describes the distribution of pension funds between the parties and ‘pension attachments’, the allocating of any benefits paid from the pension. Sharing orders are more common as they mark a watershed moment on the value of the pension fund one day before the order is enacted and can create a brand new pension in the sole name of the beneficiary.

Alongside property, pensions can be one of the most valuable assets a couple share and therefore one of the greatest sources of income in later life.

Pensions Are Complex And Need Individual Advice

Both parties can make claims to a pension fund. There are many factors that make each situation unique. The length of the marriage, the total worth of the pension and the discrepancies in how much each party contributed are amongst the most common areas of note.

As few people plan ahead of time to get divorced, one party may be left with very little in the way of savings and pension plans. This situation commonly occurs when one party has taken a long period of time out of working but has perhaps contributed far more to childcare.

The fairness of distributing the funds is ultimately subjective, meaning that it is important to get good legal representation in order to aid your case.

The importance of knowing how divorce proceedings allocate pensions.

It is important to know that even though during a marriage or civil partnership it may be reasonable to consider a pension a shared asset, this has no basis in law. Each person’s pension contributions are viewed separately.

How A Court Makes Its Decision

Section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 is used as a basis for the courts to follow. It details the many different aspects that must be taken into consideration when evaluating and allocating assets.

Issues considered include the financial such as income, property value and obligations, the standard of living of those involved, the length of the marriage, disabilities, contributions made towards the family as well as benefits such as pensions that one party is set to lose. If there are dependent children involved, their needs will be central to any resolution.

The largest single asset, the matrimonial home can sometimes be assigned to whichever party will look after the children. In most cases, this is the ex-wife. Assigning a home to one person creates a great imbalance in the dividing of assets, one which is often offset by allowing the other party to receive the majority of a pension.

A Party Can Come Out Of A Marriage With Little Personal Pension Provision

A common scenario is that an ex-wife is left with little pension provision. If whilst married, she gave up working or worked significantly less in order to raise the couple’s children, she may well be ‘compensated’ in the divorce. However, this is reliant on a court’s concept of ‘fairness’ meaning that nothing is guaranteed and each situation is unique.

This is obviously not always the case, it may be that both divorcing parties have established equal provisions or the roles may be reversed.

For further help and advice please do not hesitate contact me.

Doug Richardson

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