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Can % of PSO be changed due to delays?

Posted by London123 
Can % of PSO be changed due to delays?
February 14, 2021 10:44AM
Hi, I have hopefully a relatively simple question which the subject title gives away slightly but first I will give a brief precis of what has happened so far.

My wife and I separated in December 2018. We had a short(ish) 8 year marriage with no children and we both worked in the public sector with public sector pensions during this period. Without going into too much detail I was originally given advice via my solicitor my wife would not be entitled to any of my pension pot which was larger than hers as I am older, nearer to retirement and having paid in to longer. However, after having spent nearly £10,000 trying to defend this position my solicitor indicated it was likely I would lose some of my pension so we came to an agreement of £30,000 as a pension sharing order from my pension to be given to my wife.

This agreement was reached in August 2020 so I obtained an updated CEV for my pension and the percentage was agreed which represented £30,000. Unfortunately in England the value can only be expressed as a percentage rather than a sum which it can be in Scotland which seems crazy. The pension sharing order and clean break order was signed and sealed by the courts in November 2020.

Unfortunately since this agreement very little has happened and the matter is apparently waiting to go back before a judge to agree the decree absolute apparently due to the time delay since the decree nisi being issued. Obviously the negotiations between sides and Covid hasn't helped with timescales.

The issue I have is every month my pension pot increases as I still pay into it and her share of the percentage increases by about £500-£600 with every month that goes by. I get the impression her solicitor is now not chasing anything and they are happy for her pot to increase as the months go by (I even have an email from my estranged ex indicating she is aware her pot is increasing as more time passes). We are now 7 months since the percentage was agreed so her share is now worth approx £34,000 compared to the £30,000 which was agreed in correspondence between both parties. I still have no indication of when the decree absolute will be issued and when the pension sharing order will be implemented.

So getting back to my original question can I apply for the percentage to now be revised when the judge hears the decree absolute? If so is that a process I can implement easily by completing a form or do I need to incur further solicitor costs.

Many thanks for any advice given.
Re: Can % of PSO be changed due to delays?
February 14, 2021 04:17PM
You are quite correct that in England a pension share can only be by way of a percentage share whereas in Scotland it can be by way of a percentage or a fixed amount. A percentage would normally be advisable. It is by no means as crazy as you think. As investors are always told, the value of investments can go down as well as up. If you had agreed to pay a fixed amount but the value of the underlying investments fell (as they can very easily if markets or bond yields fall) you would be complaining for a very different reason.

The fact is that you have reached agreement and you have reached agreement on the basis of a percentage. I think you would have your work cut out to change that argreement by arguing that the percentage was in fact based upon a given lump sum. And, no it is not a process you can implement easily by completing a form. You would be better off trying to chase the progress of the agreement.
Re: Can % of PSO be changed due to delays?
February 15, 2021 07:37PM
From my understanding of personal pensions, any contributions made after the order was made are not included in the valuation for what is paid to your spouse.
Re: Can % of PSO be changed due to delays?
February 16, 2021 10:32AM
>>From my understanding of personal pensions, any contributions made after the order was made are not included in the valuation for what is paid to your spouse.

I am sorry to say that I think the above is wrong. It would be correct in the case where a fixed lump sum was payable from a pension (as is possible in Scotland) because in that event any subsequent contributions would not affect the lump sum in any way. However, where a percentage of a pension is shared (as can be the case in Scotland and is always the case in England) then the amount which goes into the percentage is calculated on the day the pension share is put into effect. A pension company has four months from the date of the order to implement a pension share after the order has been made (and served on the pension company). If a person has made contributions during that interval then they will be included in the percentage.

Many people stop making contributions to a pension from the moment it looks likely that a pension share will be made from that pension precisely because they do not want their (ex) spouse to be a stakeholder in their pension contributions.

I suppose in theory a pension sharing order could say X percentage as at the date of this order but all the pension sharing orders I have ever seen simply say that there shall be a pension share of X percentage of Y pension in favour of A.
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