Your pension on divorce

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

Under the Pensions Act 1995 and the Welfare Reform & Pensions Act 1999, 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.

The court can make a number of orders:

Pension Sharing Order
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 is put into a separate fund for you. This can be either with the same pension fund holders or with a new fundholder. This works well where the couples want a clean break.


Deferred Pension Sharing Order
If the pension is already being paid to one of the parties who has retired, the court can order that on the eventual retirement of the younger partner, part of the pension is paid to them.


Pension Offsetting
The pension is not altered or split, but the other party receives more of another asset, for example, more cash, or a larger share of the home etc. This again helps if the parties want a clean break.


Deferred Lump Sum Order
This is where both parties receive an agreed lump sum when the party with the pension retires.


Pension Attachment Order
Part of the pension or a lump sum from it is given to the other party when the partner with the pension retires. 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".



Unmarried Couples - your rights

Relationships & Family Law