Your personal finance questions – I am getting divorced and we are splitting the house, is there anything else I should consider? –

Q I am currently starting divorce proceedings with my husband. It has been very amicable to date, and I hope to keep it that way. We are going to sell the family home and split the proceeds, and split what is in the joint bank account. Other than that, I am thinking I will just walk away from it all. Is there anything else major that I should be considering when it comes to the financials?

A You have not mentioned a pension, either yours or that of your spouse. Pensions often get overlooked when couples go through a divorce, according to Glenn Gaughran, Independent Trustee Company.

He said we often think of the house as being the primary asset, but many people still have substantial mortgages, so the net value of the property can be less than we think. In contrast, pensions, particularly those to which an employer makes significant contributions, can grow to be worth quite a bit.

For example, if a spouse’s pension averaged €500 to €1,000 a month in contributions over the last 25 years, the fund could potentially be worth close to €500,000 now.

It is definitely worth considering bringing pensions into the settlement agreement, Mr Gaughran said. In order to split the pension, it will be necessary to seek a pension adjustment order from the court.

This is a specialised order and the trustees need to be involved. It can take time to put in place so this is a matter which should be addressed early on in the proceedings in order to secure the best outcome for the parties, he said.

A solicitor should be able to advise those involved as to how to go about this. It would be sensible to also seek financial advice to assess all the assets, including the pensions, that could be included in the settlement.

Q I am with Teachers’ Car Insurance Scheme Select with Cornmarket. On the renewal notice for the last few years, it states: “No-claims discount protection for life applies.” The premium is always high and I have got cheaper quotes from other companies. Is it worth holding onto this no-claims discount protection for life and paying the higher premium, or what does it mean in reality?

A No-claims discount protection for life means the insurer will not reduce the no-claims discount for any claim arising during the period of insurance, according to the managing director of Jonathan Hehir.

There are only a few companies on the market that will offer this sort of no-claims bonus protection, and you usually have to be insured with them for a number of years before you would qualify for this …….


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