Pensions & divorce


Dealing with pensions in divorce

Dealing with the impact of divorce on pensions is rarely straightforward. Concerns may include whether pensions will be divided up and how this would affect income and retirement.

Pensions should be factored into any financial settlement on divorce, whether you're close to retirement age or not. Divorce and pensions can be complicated to deal with because each pension is different, with its own set of scheme rules and varying contributions. So, it's important to seek legal advice. This will inform you on how each pension may be treated in divorce. You can then consider how this affects the pension element of the divorce settlement you reach and your long-term financial security. 

We're here to guide you through this difficult time. You can trust us to help you and support you every step of the way as our team of family lawyers has a wealth of experience dealing with pensions and divorce.

  • Award-winning divorce services
  • 91% client satisfaction
  • Extensive industry recognition
  • Offices across England

How are pensions treated on divorce?

The starting point of a divorce is the sharing of matrimonial assets, including pensions. Pensions can be overlooked during divorce – particularly when you aren't close to retirement age. But they can be one of the largest assets in your case. You may be tempted to focus on tangible assets like a house or car, but it's also important to consider your future financial planning after separation, including what you'll do on retirement.

It's vital to get disclosure about any pensions to which either you or your partner are entitled, including state pension and the additional state pension. The first step would be to obtain a cash equivalent transfer value (CETV) for each pension, which will tell you what that pension is worth in pounds if you were to sell it on the open market. However, CETVs are not always an accurate summary of what a pension might be worth. Some pensions, such as defined benefit pensions and publicly funded pensions like the NHS, can be more valuable than their CETVs suggest.

It's also important to consider the terms of each pension scheme because this will tell you when you can draw on the pension, whether a capital lump sum can be drawn out, how and where the funds are invested, and how much income you may be able to draw from the pension.

Pensions are complicated and, to fully understand them, it may be necessary to instruct a pensions on divorce expert (PODE) to produce a report. This report will summarise pension sharing on divorce and how it could be done within your case to achieve objectives that you or your partner may have. For example, equalisation of income on retirement. Our lawyers are experienced in working alongside PODEs to obtain reports for our clients, explain what they mean and use the information to reach a settlement.

If you would like to talk about how we can help you, get in touch with our pension and divorce lawyers today.


How do our pensions and divorce lawyers help?

Pensions are often the most valuable – yet most overlooked – asset during divorces. So, it's well worth investing in the best expertise to ensure pensions are dealt with in the best way.

Our lawyers have unrivalled experience in dealing with pensions and we work with you to understand your objectives. Philip Way, a partner in our family law team, is chair of the legal committee behind the gold standard guidelines for professionals dealing with pensions on divorce.

We regularly advise on the role of pensions and on how your pension can be considered within a wider financial settlement. Here are some examples of just some of the issues we help our clients with:

  • Dealing with a range of pensions including public sector pensions, SIPPs (Self Invested Personal Pension), defined benefit schemes and defined contribution schemes.
  • Advising clients on pensions abroad and how they can be considered within a settlement.
  • Working with pensions on divorce experts (PODE) to fully understand pension arrangements before advising our clients on how the pensions should be considered within a settlement.
  • Advising clients on the implementation of pension sharing orders.
  • Advising clients on enforcement proceedings where an order has not been implemented.
  • We're well known for our expertise in advising on pensions with an international dimension.

Our services also extend further than just dealing with pensions on divorce. Our family lawyers can also assist you with the following:

If you need our expertise in any of these areas, or just want to find out more about how we can help you, get in touch and one of our lawyers will assist you.


Who do our pensions on divorce lawyers work with?

We know that pensions and divorce can be tricky to navigate in all walks of life. This is why we're proud to work with a wide range of clients from various backgrounds, including:

  • Business owners, partners and entrepreneurs
  • International families
  • Professional and family trustees
  • Farming families
  • Sports people
  • People with a high profile in the entertainment industry
  • Medical professionals
  • Senior management and other professionals


Why choose Mills & Reeve's pensions on divorce lawyers?

With pensions on divorce being a complicated subject, you'll be looking for experienced lawyers who can make the situation easier. We know no two cases are the same, so we'll get to know your case in detail before we commence. This way, we can provide a tailor-made service that works for you.

Alongside this, here are some more reasons why you should consider instructing us as your pension and divorce solicitors:


Frequently Asked Questions


Pensions and divorce - what do I need to know and think about?

This vlog looks at the things you need to think about if you are getting divorced and have a pension- what information do you need? How is a pension valued? What can you do to share the pension benefits? Caitlin Jenkins, the familylawvlogger, discusses all things pension with her Mills& Reeve partner and pension expert, Philip Way.

Why are we pension on divorce experts?

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