Relationship property settlements
You may apply to make a withdrawal from the scheme to settle a division of your relationship property. To make an application, you will need to complete a relationship property settlement form. Your application must be supported by a copy of either a court order or an agreement between you and your former spouse or partner under the Property (Relationships) Act 1976.
To comply with the trust deed, the wording of the agreement or court order needs to be quite specific. It must:
- state that you are required to make a relationship property settlement to your former partner
- specify the amount you are required to pay to your former partner
- state that the amount to be paid is to be sourced from your PSS benefit.
If your application is supported by an agreement, that agreement must meet the following requirements:
- It must be in writing and signed by both parties.
- Each party to the agreement must have taken legal advice before signing.
- Each party’s signature must be witnessed by a solicitor.
- The solicitor who witnesses each party’s signature must certify that, before witnessing the signature, he or she explained the effect and implications of the agreement.
You can only access your savings to pay the other party as part of the relationship property settlement. In other words, you can’t make a withdrawal for your own benefit. If you need additional funds – for example, to pay legal bills – you would need to apply separately for a partial withdrawal or a significant financial hardship benefit.
The maximum amount payable for a property relationship benefit depends on whether you provide a court order or a written agreement. The maximum amounts are:
- 100% of your leaving benefit under a court order
- 50% of your leaving benefit under an agreement.
These maximum amounts are set out in the trust deed, and we have no discretion to vary them. Any payment is made in equal portions from your member’s account and your employer’s account.
The trust deed sets out strict rules around this type of benefit. The information given here is included on the relationship property settlement form. It’s a good idea to give a copy of this to your solicitor to help them draft an agreement that complies with the rules specific to the scheme. Getting the wording right will help make sure everything goes smoothly.