I''m back on Wiki looking for advice again ! I was divorced back in 2008 and settled for really quite a poor deal but for many many reasons at the time it probably was best. My ex had a massive civil service pension and it was valued, and I was aware of what it was, but he offered me the house, to pay the mortgage until it was paid off - in 2031 !!! if I left his pension alone. He also offered £10,000 on my retirement or his death.
We have a Consent Order written to this effect.
There''s been a lot in the news and paper about this new company which will go after the pensions after divorce for people who feel they didnt get the right or fair deal ?
Anyone heard of them ? How can it be done ? and they also claim they can do it without contacting the former spouse ? Last thing I want to do is rock the boat and have him stop paying my maintenance payments but I still feel raw and hard done by with the settlement I had, but I was just left with no choice but to accept it as I couldnt financially afford to pay for the legal battle to get it, and I could well have lost the house !
Is there a way to get something after the fact or is this company just something after money ?!?!?
It is very tempting to think you could retrospectively get a better deal. However I would treat this with some caution.
There are many aspects to a divorce settlement. From what you say you were aware of the true value of the pension and you went ahead with a Consent Order. Were you legally represented at the time?
As far as I am aware, this organisation would take action against your solicitor at the time and not against your former spouse. Do bear in mind that this is a business venture and not a charitable exercise.
Also as far as I am aware, although a number of "claims" have been identified, there have, as yet, been no outcomes to suggest that the views they express on pensions etc are valid. It would be interesting to see the idea that pensions could be retrospectively valued at their "true" value tested in court.
I know there have been many debates about pensions and value over the years ... it is widely acknowledged that the CETV is a blunt instrument. However it is the one the courts use even if it is far from perfect.
Getting an actuarial valuation can be a good idea with a substantial pension if a pension share is a prospect because they can determine who needs what in order to have equality of income in retirement. IMO it is better to get this ordered by the court as a joint valuation.
Your position may not be as bad as you think. For example, it sounds as though he is paying spousal maintenance which would make you a dependant if he died and entirely probably a beneficiary of his pension. You may also, depending on the terms of your order, be able to apply for this SM to be increased if your circumstances warrant it.
Perhaps in order for us to assist you better, you would remind us of the terms of your settlement and the values involved.
I have had a look at their web site and from reading through it, it appears they check your entitlement free and there is no charge if they are unable to recover anything for you BUT charge 15% of any COMPENSATION you receive. I would be very wary of it, if your ex is not involved, as he would be in pension sharing, where is the "compensation" coming from and even if you decide not to peruse a claim, would you still be liable for the 15% they think you are entitled too?
It also does not appear to take into account any wording or conditions of a Consent Order.
If there have been any significant changes, you could apply for variation of the order but be aware that amounts of SM can be varied down as well as up, it can be costly (legal fees) and costs could be awarded against you if the DJ does not vary in your favour.
Sorry if I sound negative, hopefully another wiki will have experience/more information to help you. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Well, I am extremely cautious as I dont trust anything much these days and I had finally understood that they were going after the solicitor rather than him, as the last thing I can risk is him stopping the maintenance.
It isnt spousal maintenance as such though, it is simply "periodical payments" which will end on either death of husband or wife, my remarriage, 1st October 2031 which is the end of the mortgage or in the event he pays off the mortgage balance.
I dont have anything written into the Consent Order which allows me to change or ask for more, in fact I''m getting more than he knows really as when we divorced and the £500 a month was agreed - the mortgage payments were £467. Since then the payments have dropped significantly to £355 so if I tried to claim for even more money he could possibly end up paying less ! so I keep quiet.
Basically - he is a senior civil servant earning in excess of £30,000. His new partner earns the same. I earn £7000 a year on average but get working tax and DLA because of my mental health issues.
My solicitor advised that I could win it all, the house, spousal maintenance and a share of the pension, but my ex wouldnt accept that and would fight for the house if I went down that route. I had no money, was afraid I couldnt pay the legal fees even if I won, with my anxiety issues and inability to consider moving, keeping my house was my main priority.
My ex offered me the house in full, signed over to me with payments of £500 a month as above, and on my retirement a lump sum of £10,000 on the agreement I left his pension alone.
I felt I had no choice but to accept it, I simply could risk losing my house. There was also a chance that a Judge would say in Court that they wouldnt make him pay the mortgage for so long anyway as it was a 21 year mortgage still outstanding on it at that time, so there were so many risks with it all.
However, I still am resentful, still struggling and facing an even more uncertain future now with the changes coming to DLA in the next few years. If I lose my DLA I will lose Working Tax and if that happens I will end up losing my house anyway as I simply cannot manage. And as the Consent Order is worded I dont see how I can go back on my word anyway - even if my circumstances change because there is nothing written in there that allows for a review of any kind ?
I would still be in the same position as in 2008 where I have no money to pay legal fees and as NowheretoTurn points out - I could even get less ESPECIALLY once he found out the mortgage was now less than he thought !
I am already worrying about the day he pays off the mortgage because if he does it sooner rather than later, my £500 a month stops, and obviously £355 of it pays the mortgage but the remainder of it goes towards the rest of my expenses and since my divorce I''ve also lost another contribution as my son has now moved out so I really am very close to the breadline ....
So it''s easy to see why I look at these glimmers of hopes, but I dont like the look of it. I dont mind paying this 15% if I got a good lump sum but I dont think I will, and I dont like the idea of sending all my confidential information either by email or post to this company which is what they asked me to do !! It''s got so much very confidential information on there , I''m not doing it ... but I just still feel .... "what if" ... what if I won ?
He said that the aim would be to claim the amount I should have had if I''d won - now I dont really know what that would be ? My ex''s CETV was valued in 2008 at £213,000 so what would that mean ? What might I get if I did get something ??
I just dont know, I do know anything that sounds too good to be true probably is, and surely !! claiming off solicitors just cannot be done as they will know every trick in the book to get out of it anyway !!
It is nice coming back here though, makes me feel safe again !!!
Did you have a solicitor''s advice for the actual Consent Order or were you LIP at the time?
500 a month for 23 years plus 10k adds up to nearly 150k.
A CETV of 213k for a final salary pension would almost certainly undervalue it in "real" terms. My ex''s final salary CETV was about 250k but the actuarial GROSS valuation was some 400k. A back of the fag packet would suggest the gross valuation may be in the order of 330k. However that is in itself an oversimplification - it is equality of income on retirement that is important. And of course there are many other factors involved in a split - including ages, length of marriage, kids etc.
TBH also what it is actually worth to you is a matter for debate ... House now ... or pension at some point in the future? I remember your issues with staying in the house ... it was absolutely key for you. The house can be used to provide some funds on retirement if you downsize. You have a secure home that is being paid for. In future you may need to ask yourself some hard questions about whether you can afford to run it.
In my case I got 80% of the cash assets - including all of the house. He got about 70% of the pension assets (I had my own small pension). If you add it all up on a £ for £ basis you could argue he got more - but for me the important thing was house for me and the kids now .. rather than lose house, have to move, upset kids and have a few k more guaranteed income on retirement.
30k is not a huge salary.Your benefits etc may well add up to close to his net income less the £500.
Also AFAIK periodical payments and SM are one and the same.
On a personal note: It is easy to look back and feel you were hard done by. It is tempting to think you could (and perhaps should) have fought for more. But that was then - and this is now. Looking forwards is a lot more productive than looking back .