National IFA LEBC Group is offering a free triage service to family lawyers to assist with the rise of divorce cases since the start of the year.
The service will help identify financial issues such as pensions sharing/offsetting, house purchase finance and ensuring that debts and ongoing maintenance payments are adequately covered with provision of suitable insurance policies.
“The value of pension plans, especially those which include guaranteed levels of income and built in inflation protection, can often be misunderstood. It is essential that divorcing couples and their legal advisers obtain expert help with this aspect of the financial arrangements. The aim of the law is to achieve equality of retirement income between the couple. Currently the actuarial value of a pension can vary from 20 to 40 times the prospective annual pension, so understanding the factors which can affect these differences and how to achieve parity between the couple requires specialist advice. Where agreement cannot be reached the most cost effective route is the appointment of a single joint expert witness who recommends an equitable split of value”, said Kay Ingram, director of public policy at LEBC.
It is often the case in any divorce settlement that there is a property and a mortgage to somehow split. It can also be the case that the lower earning partner may find it difficult to secure the lending they need.
Ms Ingram said: “If the existing lender is unwilling or unable to help, then in many cases we will be able to find a solution. Indeed, even if an existing lender is causing problems, there is a distinct possibility that getting the divorcing spouse a new mortgage deal, rather than them carrying on the old one, may result in lower repayments for them.”
She added: “While a clean break is the most desired outcome, where there are ongoing commitments to be met for mortgage repayment, education costs or child maintenance, it is essential that the consent order includes the need to provide adequate life and health insurance, so that the payments can continue to be met even if the payer dies or is unable to work due to ill health. After the divorce the couple will have no insurable interest in each other and so arranging this as part of the financial consent order is advisable to avoid further financial problems later.”
LEBC Group (LEBC) is a national IFA, pensions and employee benefits consultancy with 16 branch locations spread throughout the UK - Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, London, Maidstone, Manchester, Newcastle, Preston, Reading and Working.