Your pension is an asset just like any other. During divorce you must disclose it on Form E along with all your property, including savings, shares and other assets. The starting point for pension division is the same as with other property – that’s 50/50 between spouses. But the reality is that the final split is very much negotiable as part of an overall financial settlement. This is why – if you have a pension that forms a significant part of the marital assets – it is important to get specialist advice from the right firm of solicitors. It’s the best way to ensure you get the outcome you want. Back in 2006 Brookman handled the Court of Appeal case that first established the rules on pension division. It’s an area we continue to focus on so we have developed a considerable level of expertise.

Why Are Pensions So Difficult To Divide?

Unlike some other assets, one spouse often builds up a pension by contributing solely from his or her earnings. That spouse may then feel aggrieved that the pension should be split at all. This can lead to a degree of sensitivity and even acrimony during pension division negotiations.

In addition pensions differ from other assets you might have to negotiate a settlement over during your divorce because it is usually difficult to attach a precise value to them. This was highlighted in the 2006 case we were involved in mentioned above, (Martin-Dye v Martin-Dye). It established that although during financial negotiation a pension is given a ‘cash transfer value’ this is not the same as an actual asset.

Recent changes to pensions rules, enabling greater access to capital and more flexibility on how pensions are treated generally have also increased the options available to couples on how to handle their pension on divorce.

Factors That Determine How Your Pension Will Be Divided

When negotiating the division of your pension your solicitor will have to address a number of variables with the other side. These include your age and how close to retirement you and your spouse are. Every situation is different. For example it may be possible to argue, in the case of a short marriage where a pension fund had been mostly built up prior to the marriage, that the non-contributing spouse should only receive the benefit of contributions made during the marriage.

What Pension Orders Are Available?

There are a number of ways in which pensions can be divided by a court or as part of a financial settlement. These include:

  • Pension Sharing Orders – Here a proportion of the main pension is separated and put in a scheme for the spouse benefitting from the order. There are then effectively two independent pension schemes. The actual proportion that is removed from the main scheme will depend on the outcome of negotiations between solicitors and the variables discussed above.
  • Pension offsetting – A specialist assessment of the pension value is made and assets of an equivalent value are transferred to one spouse. The original pension remains in its entirety with the other spouse.
  • Pension attachment orders – Under this type of arrangement part of the pension benefits are redirected to an ex-spouse when they fall due for payment (usually on retirement). Although relatively uncomplicated this type of order has declined in usefulness in recent years. As we move toward more ‘clean break’ type settlements any arrangement that ties a divorced couple together well into the future is inevitably less popular.

Pensions are complex financial instruments. Dividing them on divorce is fraught with difficulty. After your home they often account for the biggest share of marital assets. It’s crucial to calculate the pension value accurately and ensure the splitting of the asset achieves the desired outcome. For advice on pension division or any other aspect of financial settlements call us on + 44 (0)20 7430 8470 or contact us online.

Got a question? Ask us now…

Kindly complete the form below to send an enquiry. Your message will be sent to one of our solicitors. Discretion is guaranteed.

Your Information

  • Consider including information such as: the name of your spouse (if relevant), the country you live in, the background to your problem.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Over 2000 FREE
consultations and counting…

Our free consultation can help you more clearly understand the legal issues relating your case and what your options are to move forward.

Request your free consultation

Or send us an enquiry

I had applied for a free consultation and I was contacted in a very short timeframe. Thank you so much for the insightful and thorough consultation, Kevin Danagher. You made me feel at ease and you provided clear expectations with the initial info I had provided... I have now a much better understanding on my query.

Feb 2024   Sonia Accardi

We had a very useful first consultation with Amber Matheson today. Amber took the time to understand our (somewhat complicated) set-up, and offered good, understandable advice on next steps. She followed up with a very thorough email clarifying what we had discussed. Highly recommended.

Feb 2024   Lucie

Lovely friendly experience. All questions were answered so that I understood completely.

Dec 2023   Ali Catlin

Very balanced, fair and pragmatic advice. Thoroughly recommend!!

Nov 2023   James Elliott

Henry graciously provided his time for a consultation. I found him to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic and he provided excellent advice which put my mind at ease. Would highly recommend Henry and his firm.

Oct 2023   Allan Ang

Henry Brookman went above and beyond during the free consultation, and even overran the allocated time. He provided invaluable professional advice in a courteous manner. I recommend his firm without reservation.

Sep 2023   Mario Ignatov

I only had my initial free review with Amelia yet I already feel much more strengthened in my legal and financial position. I am currently reflecting on the steps I want to take to negotiate my desired outcome of the financial settlement but, when I am ready to use the services of a lawyer, Amelia is definitely the top on my list.

Sep 2023   Nahid Toubia

I had a zoom consultation with Lauren Moir and she was incredible. Very patient, insightful and reassuring. She also advised me based on my previous conversations with another firm and also clarified various positions I am in. Highly recommend.

Aug 2023   Gary Hawes

I was very impressed with the friendly, helpful and professional service offered by Brookman Solicitors. The generous advice and knowledge offered during the initial free consultation has enabled us to have a much better understanding of our case and plan a way forward.

Jul 2023   Peter Jackson

I had a first consultation with Kevin, who very diligently and professionally provided an exhaustive overview of the divorce process and the best approach for my specific case.

Jul 2023   Giulia Matteo

Great service and excellent advice at the initial consultation. I would certainly recommend and use in the future.

Jul 2023   Tom James

Spoke to a kind solicitor this morning who took an hour of her time to talk me through some advice relating to a difficult separation.... She was clear and helpful with her advice, leaving me feeling much more confident with the process ahead of me.

Jun 2023   Luke Taylor

Mr Brookman provided very clear advice that left me with no doubt about the options and next steps. Getting specific advice with the requirements in the different jurisdictions was particularly useful so I won’t need to consult another lawyer outside of the UK

May 2023   Julian Anthony

From initial contact I found all staff extremely helpful and professional. My options were made clear, my query was dealt with in a sympathetic way. Would highly recommend Brookman Solicitors.

Mar 2023   seamus mcguinness

The initial consultation I have just completed with Henry Brookman was very informative; he was very open and honest about my situation, the legalities of the matter and the extent of how his firm could help.

Nov 2022   Kimberley Noakes

Google Reviews
Ask A Question

Contact Us

If you have questions, contact us now, we can help you.

Enquire Now

Or call us on +44 (0)20 7430 8470