SWPF

South Wales Police Federation

The 10 Minute Guide to... Police Pensions and Divorce

Due to the higher than average levels of stress associated with their jobs, it is perhaps not surprising that divorce rates where one partner works in the police force are twice the national average. The physical danger and conflict which is inherent in their jobs can have a lasting impact on their relationships, and matters can quickly deteriorate.

If a police officer is going through a divorce or separation, the desire to protect the pension they have worked so hard for understandably features highly on their list of priorities. This is precisely why they should seek the best possible advice from a legal team who take the time to stay on top of the latest new pension regulations and matters such as pay and rent allowance.      

Police pension schemes

Police pensions can be treated in one of three ways in the case of a police divorce. This includes:

Police pension offsetting – this process involves the partner who no longer has access to their spouse’s police pension receiving a greater share of other available assets as recompense, such as the family home. The amount they receive depends on the value of the pension and the value of other assets. If the police officer wishes to keep their entire pension, this is usually their best option.

Police pension sharing – in this resolution method, a part of the police officer’s pension is paid into a pension for the benefit of their spouse. Any further pension contributions the police officer receives after this time are purely for their benefit, and not their spouses. The police officer then has the opportunity to build their pension back up before they retire. 

Pension attachment orders – an order is made whereby as soon as the pension payments commence, the spouse receives either a regular proportion of the income or a lump sum payment, which is received directly from the administrators of the pension. This can be advantageous for both the police officer and their spouse. For the spouse, it may mean they start to receive payments without having to wait until they are 60 or 65 years old, whilst for a police officer, a pension attachment order will usually cease when their spouse remarries.

How do you know which option is best for you?

This will depend on your current circumstances as well as the Cash Equivalent Transfer Vale or Cash Equivalent Benefit of the pension, which the administrator of the scheme will be able to provide. Once we have these details, along with the date you joined the pension scheme, we can advise you about the best method of administering your police divorce and pension.

For more information about your police divorce and pension, please call the experienced team at Howells on 02920 404014, email: info@howellslegal.com or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch.

by Tristan Lewis