Your pension on divorce

If your partner has a pension and you are worried that if you divorce you will not be entitled under this pension, don't worry.

Under the Pensions Act 1995 the courts have more powers to award you an interest in your partner's pension. The court can consider any benefits you might have received under your partner's pension scheme and which you will lose after the divorce.

i) The court can order that the trustees or managers of the pension scheme should make payments to you of any benefit you might have received if the divorce had not happened, (e.g. widows pension).

ii) Or order them to transfer to you any payments your partner is entitled to receive early, such as a lump sum payment.

iii) If your partner's pension includes a sum of money to be paid to a person of his or her choice on his or her death, then the court can order that your partner name you as that person or that the trustees or managers of the pension scheme pay the death benefit to you.

iv) The court can specify an amount that should be paid to you when the pension becomes due as long as this is not more than the pension holder is entitled to. This is known as "earmarking".

All these orders depend on the pension holder retiring, the money will not be received until then.

The courts have powers to make pension sharing / splitting orders. Pension sharing / splitting orders do not depend on the pension holder retiring before the order has effect. Instead the pension fund can be split on the making of the order and a percentage of the fund put into a separate fund for you. This can be either with the same pension fund holders or a new fund can be set up.

Unmarried Couples - your rights

Relationships & Family Law