Getting divorced – have you considered pensions in your financial settlement?

Written by Hayley Coyne

When considering a financial settlement, most parties consider the family home, family car and savings that each party has with pensions being disregarded. Pensions should not, however, be overlooked because, aside from the family home, it could be the most valuable asset an individual has.

More than 7 in 10 miss out.

A recent survey conducted by Which? demonstrates how important it is to obtain legal advice regarding financial settlement to ensure that assets are not overlooked and not taken into consideration. Of the 978 members that Which? surveyed in May 2022, a staggering 71% did not include pensions within their financial settlement with, as many as 22% not wishing to share their pension*.

Since 2000, Pension Sharing Orders have been a financial remedy available to parties to a divorce and it enables an individual to be transferred a percentage of the other party’s pension.

Since its implementation however, Pension Sharing Orders have often been overlooked. In 2021 the number of Pension Sharing Orders had fallen by 35% since 2017 despite the number of divorces having increased over this time**.

Professional legal advice can help

It is therefore, very important that all parties’ assets are considered in a financial provision, as pensions may be valuable assets which are being disregarded as they do not, in the vast majority of matters, provide a party with financial benefit in the here and now. If pensions are not considered, it could lead to a disparity in the party’s financial positions, especially for those who have taken career breaks to care for young children, and therefore did not contribute to a pension during this time.

What an individual should receive under a Pension Sharing Order should be determined by an expert within the pension field, because there are several external factors, which vary on a case-by-case basis, affecting what pension share there should be.

If you have any questions concerning financial settlement upon divorce please contact our offices to discuss matters with one of our family experts. (Margaret Baker, Kay Levene, Leanne Weatherill, Darren Francis, Debbie Roper, Hayley Coyne, or Michelle Holt).

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