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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
One of the questions we are frequently asked is: When should I apply for my Decree Absolute if I have a Pension Sharing Order?
When a divorcing couple reach a financial agreement, that agreement should be made into a court order called a Consent Order. If you have a Consent Order that has a Pension Sharing Order then we advise that you wait 28 days from the date of the Consent Order before making your application for Decree Absolute. The Decree Absolute is the certificate which replaces your marriage certificate and means you will be divorced.
A Pension Sharing Order only comes into effect on the later of the granting of Decree Absolute or 28 days from the date of Pension Sharing Order. If you complete the divorce before those 28 days have passed and the Pension Sharing Order has not taken effect, then any Pension Sharing Order cannot be enforced.
The result of this is that, with your divorce having been finalised, you will no longer have any entitlement to a Widow/Widower’s pension rights or benefits because you have completed the divorce but you have also lost the rights under the Pension Sharing Order. Therefore in this situation, the person would be left without any pension from their former Spouse.
The decisions about when to apply for Decree Absolute therefore carries a great risk. It is one that shouldn’t be entered into without serious consideration. If your former spouse dies before the Pension Sharing Order has taken effect, then you stand to lose thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds in pension.
If you are uncertain about your position, don’t hesitate to speak to one of the Divorce & Finance Team here at Brethertons who can give you tailored advice. We can assist you with any arising concerns regarding this subject or any other enquiries you might have.
Alternatively, you can contact us directly on 01295 270999.
Please treat the contents of our blogs as general guidance only. Please do not take any action based on their contents unless you have sought specific legal advice. Brethertons cannot accept responsibility for any errors or inaccuracies, loss or damage in circumstances where there is no formal retainer between us and we have not given you personal and specific advice relating to a matter for which you have given us full background details. You must also bear in mind that the contents of our blogs are based on English Law, and because they contain archival material, that material is likely to go out of date. Therefore, it is important to consider the date that the blog was posted. Please also remember that the law may differ in different Jurisdictions.