Under the LGPS, if you get divorced or your civil partnership is dissolved, you should note that:
- Your ex-wife, ex-husband or ex-civil partner will cease to be entitled to a widow’s, widower’s or civil partner’s pension should you predecease them.
- Any children’s pension payable in the event of your death will not be affected by your divorce.
- If you nominated your ex-spouse/ex-civil partner to receive any death grant payable, your expression of wish will remain in force until you change it.
You (or your solicitor) should request, specific information about your LGPS benefits, in writing, from the City and County of Swansea Pension Fund as part of the proceedings for a divorce, judicial separation or nullity of marriage, or for dissolution, separation or nullity of a civil partnership. If the request is from your solicitor you should provide written authority that you are willing for information to be disclosed.
The Court will then take this information into account in your settlement and may offset the value of your pension rights against your other assets in the divorce/dissolution settlement or may issue a Pension Sharing Order (or an Earmarking Order) against your pension.
Please note that any costs for supplying information or complying with a Court Order will be recovered from you and/or your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner.
If a Pension Sharing Order is issued, a proportion of your benefits will be transferred to your ex-spouse’s or ex-civil partner’s ownership. These can be left in the Scheme and are normally paid from Normal Pension Age (equal to State Pension Age) or can be transferred to another qualifying pension arrangement.
The reduction to your benefits is known as a Pension Debit. When your benefits are paid, the Pension Debit (which is increased in line with the rise in the Consumer Price Index – CPI – between the date the debit is calculated and the date benefits are paid) will be deducted from your retirement benefits.
If the Court makes an Earmarking Order, your LGPS benefits still belong to you, but some are earmarked for your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner. The earmarked benefits will be paid to your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner when your benefits are paid, reducing the amount paid to you.
The Order can require that your ex-spouse or ex-civil partner receive one or a combination of the following:
- all or part of your LGPS pension;
- all or part of any lump sum payable to you; and
- all or part of any lump sum payable on your death.
If you remarry, enter into a new civil partnership or nominate a co-habiting partner to receive a survivor’s pension and your LGPS benefits are subject to a Pension Sharing Order, any spouse’s pension, civil partner’s pension or nominated co-habiting partner’s pension payable following your death will also be reduced.
If you remarry or enter into a new civil partnership and then divorce or dissolve your civil partnership again, your remaining pension rights can be subject to further division.
You may wish to consider paying additional pension contributions to regain the pension benefits you have lost by the Pension Debit, you can elect to buy additional pension by paying Additional Pension Contributions (APC), or pay into the Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC) Scheme.