Your divorce order must be precise on pension split
A retirement fund cannot be ordered to split your pension benefits with your former spouse unless the divorce order provides for this and stipulates the name of the fund.
Elmarie de la Rey, the acting Pension Funds Adjudicator, this week dismissed a case in which R Budhoo, a member of the Sasol Pension Fund, complained that the fund had refused to endorse its records and pay half his pension interest to his former wife, E Budhoo, as he and his wife had agreed.
According to the ruling, the fund told Budhoo the divorce order did not comply with the Divorce Act and it was therefore unable to split the pension benefits. The fund advised Budhoo to approach the court that granted the divorce order to have it amended.
When De la Rey’s office investigated, it found the divorce order did not state that Mrs Budhoo was entitled to any pension interest, nor did it stipulate the fund whose records should be endorsed and that should make the payment. It stated only that an amount of R68 000 would be paid to Budhoo after Mrs Budhoo received the pension fund money.
De la Rey says in her ruling that in terms of the Pension Funds Act and the Divorce Act, for the payment of pension interest to a non-member spouse it is required that the divorce order must specifically provide for the nonmember’s entitlement and must direct the fund to endorse its records and pay the pension interest as the nonmember directs.
De la Rey says that although Budhoo agreed to half of his pension interest being paid to his spouse, his consent cannot be substituted for the unenforceability of the order.
The complaint was therefore dismissed.