Divorce and Pensions

When you are going through a divorce and negotiating the terms of a financial settlement, it is important to consider the value of any pensions and ensure that they are dealt with fairly.

If the court is asked to decide the matter, it will aim to share assets fairly between you and your spouse. This does not necessarily mean equal sharing; for example, if one party is in a weaker financial position, perhaps because they have spent years caring for the children of the family, they could receive more of the available assets to compensate.

At Chattertons Solicitors, we understand pensions and this complex area of law, and have long experience of dealing with all kinds of pensions and resolving financial claims to ensure that pensions are taken into account and a fair outcome is reached.

In some cases, some clients favour an 'offset' of pension claims, in other words retaining more of one asset and taking less or none of the spouse's pension in return.  For example, sometimes a person may be prepared to waive their rights to a spouse’s pension in return for the family home. This can sometimes be a very risky strategy, and our clients will always be advised by our specialist lawyers as to the right way to address pensions to avoid the risk of losing out on a very considerable asset, in line with what the Family Court would order.  This may include instructing a pensions actuary to calculate the correct percentage to be applied to the pension holder's pension to share that pension fairly.

Our family law team are members of Resolution, a leading organisation for family lawyers that is committed to dealing with family and divorce issues constructively by negotiation and mediation rather than court wherever possible so that conflict is reduced.

We are strong negotiators and are often able to reach an amicable settlement on behalf of our clients without the need for the Court to become involved in the case..

Our divorce and pensions expertise

Pensions are notoriously complex, and it is important to instruct a solicitor with an in-depth understanding of both pension law and family law if you are going through a divorce.

At Chattertons Solicitors, we specialise in financial matters, and our team are exceptionally knowledgeable on the subject of pensions and savings in divorce.

Our pensions and divorce services include the following:

  • Advice on your pension rights in divorce
  • Obtaining cash equivalent valuations of pensions
  • Pension sharing
  • Pension offsetting
  • Pension earmarking
  • Negotiating a financial settlement on your behalf
  • Obtaining a consent order from the court in respect of an agreed settlement
  • Representation and advice during mediation
  • Preparing your case for court if necessary and ensuring you have expert representation
  • Dealing with the implementation of pension sharing and pension earmarking orders

For more information on our services, see our family law page.

Speak to our divorce and pensions solicitors

For expert advice on pensions and divorce, you can contact our local Family Law teams in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.

To ask a question or request a call back at a time that suits you, please use our simple enquiry form, and a member of our team will get back to you quickly.

Clients often ask us…

How are pensions treated in divorce settlements?

Pensions are often a substantial asset for older individuals, and in divorce proceedings, they should be valued and taken into account when a financial agreement is made.

There are three main options when dealing with a pension in divorce:

  • Pension sharing orders – where a percentage of a pension is transferred to become a separate pension for the benefit of one party. This means that both parties will have their own pension entitlement.
  • Pension offsetting – where one party will keep their pension entitlement and the other party will receive other assets by way of compensation, such as a lump sum, other investments or property.
  • Pension attachment orders– where a share of a pension is set aside for the other spouse who will receive it when the spouse whose pension it is decides to retire. This does not give the other spouse any control over when they will receive the payments. In addition to this, they will lose any entitlement should the pension holder die. Pension attachment orders are relatively rare.

Am I entitled to a share of my spouse’s pension on divorce?

You are entitled to a fair share of matrimonial assets on divorce, and this includes pension entitlement. You should ensure that your solicitor understands pensions and that they are prepared to do the work required to include the value of pensions in the divorce settlement.

How does a court decide what happens to a pension in divorce?

The court will take a number of points into consideration when looking at pensions and divorce settlements.

The Courts now favour an agreement in relation to pensions which is intended to produce equal income for both parties on retirement, as opposed to sharing the pension on the basis of its capital value at the time of the divorce. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to the complex subject of pensions sharing.

Where the parties are nearing retirement age, it is more likely that the court will aim to share pension income equally rather than share the pension capital.

Where the parties are younger and pensions relatively small, dividing a pension on the basis of its capital value may be appropriate.

In a divorce, the court will always consider the needs of the parties. If one party has particular financial needs, then pensions that were accrued prior to the marriage will not be off-limits and could be utilised to ensure that an individual has sufficient financial provision. 

Get in touch with our specialist divorce and pensions solicitors

For expert advice on pensions and divorce, you can contact our local Family Law teams in Boston, Grantham, Horncastle, Lincoln, London, Newark, Sleaford, Spalding or Stamford.

To ask a question or request a call back at a time that suits you, please use our simple enquiry form, and a member of our team will get back to you quickly.