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Pensions and Divorce

Pensions are often a valuable matrimonial asset in a divorce. Before 1 December 2000 the most usual way to deal with pensions was offsetting i.e one person had more assets, for example the former matrimonial home, instead of a share of the pension because pension sharing was not possible. This could lead to unfairness though, with one party receiving assets available now with another having assets available in the future. Therefore pension sharing provisions were brought in for divorce petitions issued on or after 1 December 2000.

Types of Pension Orders for divorced couples

  • Pension sharing – where a portion of one person’s pension is transferred to their spouse.
  • Pension attachment/earmarking – where a proportion of one spouse’s pension is earmarked for the other spouse.  However, there are limitations to this order and so pension sharing orders are often more preferable.

Can Pension Orders be varied?

A pension attachment order is variable but a pension sharing order is not.

How to value a pension for divorce

A pension is valued by obtaining the cash equivalent value. If a pension sharing order is made or agreed then a percentage of the benefits under the pension scheme (pension debit) will be transferred to a pension scheme for the other party (pension credit). The amount that is actually transferred will be the percentage at the time of the transfer not at the time of the agreement.  Pension sharing or attachments can only follow an order of the court. 

Implementation of a Pension Order after divorce

An order takes effect when the pension sharing order and the Decree Absolute have been made and the time period for an appeal has passed.

A pension company then has four months in which to implement the order beginning with the later of the dates on which it takes effect and the date on which the pension arranger receives the relevant matrimonial documents and the information required by the legislation.

A pension attachment order may not be made in relation to a pension arrangement that is already the subject of a pension sharing order (and vice versa).

Charges for Pension Orders

Pension providers charges can be made by a pension company, for putting a pension sharing order into effect.

Questions about pension sharing and divorce

To share any questions that you may have, with an expert team of family lawyers, call to speak to someone today, using the contact details for our family lawyers in Leicester, Hinckley and Market Harborough, below.

Leicester call us on 0116 254 8871.

Hinckley call us on 01455 639 900.

Market Harborough call us on 01858 467 181.