17 May 2020

Military pensions on divorce

As Head of the Military sector at Wilkin Chapman, James Marsden is a Partner within the Family team.

Whilst based at the firm’s East Yorkshire office, he acts for military personnel nationwide as a specialist in handling military divorce. Here, with the help of a case study involving an instruction he received by a Major in the Army, James highlights why engaging an expert in such matters is so important:

“A military divorce is no different to a civilian divorce in terms of practice and procedure. However, the intricacies of service life, and the complexities that arise as a result of the regular Armed Forces Pension Schemes, 1975, 2005 and 2015 and the Reserve Forces Pension Scheme 2005, are such that we receive instructions from members of the Armed Forces community throughout England and Wales when they are facing the prospect of divorce.

“I was approached by the client following his separation from his wife. Permanently based in the North East, he was serving in Hampshire with the matrimonial home in Oxfordshire. Whilst the client was away, he was happy to deal with the matter ‘remotely’ to secure our expertise.

“The client was naturally concerned about preserving his Armed Forces Pension particularly as he had given away a share during a previous divorce when we weren’t acting for him.

“The wife was seeking a sizeable share of the pension, now my client’s only income having retired during the proceedings. We skilfully navigated the case so the client could retain his pension, ensuring his valuable benefits were retained.

“Without our detailed knowledge of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme, and our ability to challenge Pension Actuaries on the intricacies of the scheme, the client could well have faced the very damaging prospect of having to share, once again, a sizeable proportion.”

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