Divorce

Pension Attachment Earmarking

A pension attachment / earmarking means that the pension still belongs to the scheme member, but the scheme is required to make some form of payment to the former spouse when the member’s benefits become payable.

The Court can order that the former spouse receives one, or a combination, of the following benefits:

  • all, or part, of the member’s Local Government pension (this does not apply in Scotland)
  • all, or part, of the member’s Local Government lump sum retirement grant
  • all, or part, of any lump sum paid in the event of the member’s death

An order can also require certain members who joined the LGPS before 17 March 1987 to exchange some pension for an additional lump sum retirement grant (this does not apply in Scotland).

So you will receive an agreed percentage of your partner’s occupational or personal pension when it is paid to them, which could be a lump sum or a regular pension payment.

However, if your partner dies, you will not receive any more money. This is because you only receive money from an attachment order if money is paid to the pensioner.

If the order is for regular payments, these would stop if you remarry. But, depending on the terms of the order, you may get a lump sum if your former partner dies.

Changes to your situation
It may be many years between your divorce and the benefits coming into payment, so you should remember that:

  • An earmarking order against pension payments, (but not lump sums – unless the order directs otherwise), will automatically lapse on the remarriage of the former spouse, and the full pension will be restored to the member.
  • Pension payments to the former spouse lapse on the death of the member.
  • The former spouse must inform Peninsula Pensions of any change of address, any change of name by marriage or deed poll and, where the earmarked pension is in payment, any change of bank account details.
  • If the scheme member transfers his / her benefits to another scheme, the earmarking order will transfer. The Pensions Section will, within 21 days of the transfer, inform the former spouse of any transfer.
  • The Pensions Section must be informed of the death of the member or of the former spouse.

Paying the earmarked pension
The Pensions Section will contact the former spouse when the member applies for payment of their pension benefits or, if the lump sum payable on death has been earmarked, when the member has died. The Pensions Section will check that the earmarking order is still valid and, if so, will arrange for payment to be made to the former spouse.