Pension Sharing Orders

Getting a divorce or civil partnership dissolution can be a stressful and uncertain experience for everyone involved. Difficult decisions about how to share responsibility for the children and split your finances, including how to divide any pensions, can quickly cause tensions to rise.  Through this unsettling time, it pays to have someone who understands you, your needs and your legal position.

Other than the family home, your pensions are likely to be you and your spouse’s most valuable assets. Pension sharing is a method of fairly dividing a couple’s pension benefits upon divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

At Chattertons, we offer a unique blend of legal advice and financial wealth management services. Our team includes skilled solicitors and qualified Independent Financial Advisors (some of whom are dual-qualified as solicitors) who can provide insightful and realistic advice across all personal wealth planning matters, including Pension Sharing Orders upon divorce or dissolution.

Understanding the complexities of Pension Sharing Orders, making the right investment choices and making sure your lawyer and Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) are on the same page are probably not at the forefront of your mind. However, our IFAs have a strong track record of keeping the complex elements of divorce or dissolution on track whilst being sympathetic and understanding of the stresses you’re facing.

We appreciate that choosing to divorce or dissolve your civil partnership and unravel your finances is a daunting task, however, with our skilled advice and representation, we can help you settle the matter as efficiently, painlessly, and cost-effectively as possible.

To set up a meeting with a specialist member of our team, please get in touch with your local branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly. We have local branches across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and London in Boston, Bourne, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding, and Stamford.

What our Pension Sharing Order solicitors and Independent Financial Advisors can do for you

Chattertons is a leading provider of personal financial planning advice within Lincolnshire and East Midlands. We’re also recognised by the Law Society for our high quality family law services.

Keeping you in the picture

Our focus is understanding what you need. There is a huge project management operation that needs to go on with all your assets on divorce or dissolution and we take full responsibility for owning this process, so you can get on with rebuilding your life.

You are our focus and, as part of a larger law firm, we are highly experienced in this area.

Mapping out your future financial security

Our person sharing advice service isn’t simply a matter of explaining the law. We provide a full solution divorce and dissolution service designed to set you on the right track for a financially secure future. Our approach:

  • Modelling your cash flow and setting budgets for new house etc.;
  • Looking at you as a whole, utilising all your assets and pensions to achieve a balanced outcome;
  • Accurately processing your Pension Sharing Order making sure you get the very best solution in the entire marketplace and that your affairs are concluded in a timely fashion;
  • Closely working with your legal team to ensure that nothing gets missed;
  • Giving you peace of mind and a certainty for the future.

How does a Pension Sharing Order work?

Pension sharing allows couples to achieve a “clean break” with no continuing obligations to one another upon divorce or dissolution.

It works by one spouse receiving a specified entitlement to the other’s pension scheme. The pension sharing process works as follows:

  • The scheme member spouse obtains a valuation of their pension benefits;
  • The pension provider must supply this information within 3 months and no later than 6 weeks before any listed hearing, if the case is one in which proceedings have been issued for a financial order;
  • The parties' solicitors, or, if the matter is in proceedings, the court, will determine the couple’s assets and other factors and allocate a percentage of the scheme member’s pension to their spouse. The spouse therefore receives a right to the specified benefits;
  • The pension scheme provider can choose whether to allow the spouse to join the existing scheme. Otherwise, the spouse’s benefit must be transferred out;
  • There may be charges to implement a Pension Sharing Order. The scheme provider will likely inform the divorcing couple of these before the order is made.

Other options for pension sharing

There are a few other options available for pension sharing. We will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option so you can make a fully informed decision about the best way to move forward with negotiations.

Pension attachment orders

Formally known as earmarking in England and Wales, a pension attachment order allocates rights to one spouse in the other spouse’s pension at the point the pension benefits become payable.

Pension offsetting

Pension offsetting involves one spouse keeping all or some of their pensions. Instead, the value they retain is offset by the other spouse keeping a greater share of the other assets. For example, one spouse may keep the entirety of the family home while the other keeps their pensions.

Is there a time limit on Pension Sharing Orders?

The Pension Sharing Order will generally come into effect within 21 days of the decree absolute or final order (the official end of the divorce or dissolution).

Once the pension provider receives a Pension Sharing Order, they have 21 days to issue what is called a notice of implementation or request information needed to implement the order (such as details to transfer the benefits out to a new scheme).

Once the required information is received, the provider has 4 months to implement the order.

Can I apply for a Pension Sharing Order after the decree absolute or final order?

The decree absolute (in divorce) or final order (in civil partnership dissolution) is the court order which officially brings your marriage or civil partnership to an end.

Typically, pension sharing should be discussed as part of other financial matters in the course of divorce or dissolution proceedings. However, financial matters can still be dealt with after the decree absolute or final order, including pension sharing. This is because financial matters are “ancillary matters” which are dealt with separately to the formal divorce or dissolution proceedings.

Get in touch to discuss Pension Sharing Orders today

To set up a meeting with a specialist member of our team, please get in touch with your local branch or fill in our online enquiry form and we will be in touch shortly. We have local branches across Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, and London in Boston, Bourne, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding, and Stamford.