Going through a divorce can be a stressful and emotional experience. Your solicitor should be there to safeguard your interests, make the process as stress free as possible and ensure a fair and reasonable financial settlement is reached. Both parties are likely to want a clean break and a fresh start, but some family solicitors are not valuing the pension correctly. This could be negligent and could give rise to a negligence claim against that solicitor.
Pension Settlement Undervaluation
Often in a divorce, one party has accrued a sizeable pension during the lifetime of the marriage which may or may not have started before the couple met. The parties will disclose their financial details and there will usually be negotiation in an attempt to achieve a financial settlement.
Pensions division and sharing
Pensions, like most matrimonial assets, need to be included within any settlement. There therefore needs to be a decision about what to do with them. The parties can share the income generated by the pension or find out the value of the fund and offset that amount against the other matrimonial assets. The difficulty is that pensions are complicated financial products and the cash equivalent transfer value of the pension (or “CETV” for short) may not reflect the true value of the pension benefits that the recipient will receive. Different pension funds have different rules with some paying income early in certain circumstances and others may not allow the internal transfer of pension rights.
Expert advice on pension value
The true value of the pension along with the rules that govern what can be done can be provided by an actuarial expert. Such an expert will allow the parties to make an informed decision as to what to do with the pension fund. Unfortunately in some situations, clients are not advised of this or the risk of not getting an expert’s opinion.
Get it wrong at your peril
It may not be until an agreement is sent to the pension fund for implementation that the potential unfairness of what has been agreed is realised. At this point it may be too late to change a pension sharing order (or “PSO” for short) and you need to question why you have ended up in this position.
It may be that the advice you received when you settled the matter was not based on a proper understanding of the pension, its value and how it operates. If this is the case, you may have a claim against the party that originally advised you.
Funding Your Claim
We offer a number of options to fund professional negligence claims including Conditional Fee Agreements and fixed fees.
Negligent Pension Valuation or Settlement? Contact us
We have experience in bringing claims against solicitors and barrister who have poorly advised in relation to financial settlements upon divorce. If you believe you may have been badly advised about a pension valuation or settlement within divorce proceedings and believe you may have suffered financial loss as a result then you may be able to claim against your legal advisors.
To arrange a free initial consultation with one of the members of our professional negligence team, contact us online or by phone on 0330 400 5800.