If you find yourself in the sad situation of ending your marriage or civil partnership to your soldier, dividing up your financial assets can be a bit of a minefield, particularly when it comes to pensions. We asked Mary Petley of the Forces Pension Society for an expert overview…

When a marriage or a civil partnership is dissolved it’s necessary for the couple to divide their ‘matrimonial property’, and pension rights form part of that. If a couple can agree on how this split should occur the court will not normally intervene. When they can’t agree, the court decides. The order on the pension could be an Attachment Order (AO) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, an Earmarking Order (EO) in Scotland or a Pension Sharing Order (PSO) throughout the UK. The pros and cons of each are outlined in the table.

Other things to note

When a Pension Sharing Order is awarded, the ‘ex’ becomes an Armed Forces Pension Scheme member, but in a limited way. They can’t add to the value of their pension share, join it with another pension or transfer it out. PSOs are normally payable at age 65 or your state pension age. You can claim as early as 55 but at a reduced rate.

This is just a whistle stop tour

If you’d like to learn more, search for MMP 131 and you should find the government booklet on the topic. If you’re a member of the FPS and have any pension issues, contact pensionenquiries@forpen.co.uk. For more about the Society, or to join for a small fee, visit forcespensionsociety.org

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