Dealing with Pensions on Divorce

During a divorce, pensions are often one of the largest assets alongside that of the family home. It is really important that if you are going through the divorce process you consider pensions and ensure that you are fully aware of the value of both yours and your spouse’s pension.

Pensions are complex and need to be carefully considered as part of the overall settlement. Some pensions are very valuable and in cases where there are large pensions involved it is important to consider getting a pension report to ensure that pensions are dealt with fairly.

At Wolferstans we will ensure that you understand your rights and the options for dividing pensions on divorce.

In many cases, when couples divorce one party has a substantial pension and the other does not. This could be for many reasons, such as one parent staying at home to look after the children rather than contributing to their pension.

In the event of a divorce, it is important that pensions are divided fairly between you and your spouse. At Wolferstans, our expert divorce settlement solicitors have the knowledge and experience to ensure that all matters regarding pensions are handled efficiently, protecting your finances.

We can help you with a range of matters regarding pension sharing and the protection of your pension in a divorce, including:

Get in touch with our family lawyers in Plymouth, Plympton or Plymstock

For advice on all aspects of dividing pensions on divorce, please get in touch with our specialist solicitors today. You can call us on 01752 648870 or complete the enquiry form on our contact page.

How we can help with pensions during a divorce

Pension sharing

Pension sharing is when an individual is given a percentage of their former partner’s pension pot as part of a divorce settlement. The funds are then placed into a separate pension pot for the benefit of that individual.

Pension sharing can be beneficial as this provides couples with a clean break, ensuring that they will not be tied together as each person walks away with their own separate pension. Pension sharing can be agreed voluntarily or decided by a court with a Pension Sharing Order.

Pension offsetting

In some cases, it may be necessary to use offsetting to protect your pension. This means the person without a pension or with a less valuable pension is given a greater share of other assets to make up for their former partner keeping the whole of their own pension.

Generally, a share of a property or another significant capital assets may be used for pension offsetting. This method ensures that both divorcing parties get a fair share of marital assets. Our solicitors at Wolferstans can provide expert guidance in deciding what assets to offset against your pension.

Pension earmarking

Earmarking, also known as pension attachment, is when a percentage of an individual’s pension is set aside for their ex-spouse to claim once they reach retirement. This includes receiving any benefits attached to the pension when it is paid.

However, earmarking can be challenging as these benefits and funds may be lost in the event of the ex-spouse’s death or remarriage. It also means the two former spouses remain financially tied together. For this reason, pension earmarking is rarely used.

Frequently asked questions about pensions in divorce

Do I have any entitlement to my partner's pension?

In the event of a divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, you could be entitled to a portion of your ex-partner’s pension. In the same vein, your ex-partner may also have a right to your pension. Financial disclosure is important to establish the value of pensions.

However, if you were not married or in a civil partnership, then you have no automatic legal right to a share of your ex-partner’s pension.

For an understanding of how much of your partner’s pension you may be entitled to, contact our solicitors today.

What pension rights can be shared in the event of a divorce?

During a divorce, it is important to understand what rights can be shared, however this will depend on your unique circumstances. For a better understanding of your pension rights in a divorce, contact our solicitors today and we will be happy to discuss this with you.

How are pensions normally dealt with in a divorce?

As pensions are often such valuable assets, it is understandable that many people seek to protect their pension during their divorce. There are a number of ways in which the pension can be dealt with, we can explore alternative options with you such as offsetting rather than a pension sharing order.

Pension offsetting can be used to offer alternative assets in exchange for protecting your pension. However, if the pension is over a certain value, then we would advise you to have a pension report carried out to assess what proportion of the pension would need to be shared. We can guide you through this process.

Clean break order

Ultimately, once the finances have been considered and agreed upon as part of the divorce, it is important to make sure you apply to a family court for a financial order or ‘clean break order’. This legally cuts the financial tie between you and your former spouse, preventing them from making future financial claims against you e.g. for a share of your pension.

Why work with Wolferstans?

At Wolferstans, we take a down-to-earth and straightforward approach to working with our clients. We pride ourselves on developing close working relationships that are built on trust.

We will always assess your circumstances and provide a bespoke and sensitive legal service based on your needs. When you work with us, you will never be overwhelmed by legal jargon, but will be supported by friendly and practical advice that you can understand.

Our firm is committed to ensuring that our clients receive expert advice for good value. We will adhere to your concerns at every stage and ensure consistent and direct communication whenever you need it.

We owe our reputation in the industry to the commitment of our highly accredited solicitors, along with our client-focused approach. We are dedicated to serving the community that we are a part of and have worked with many different clients including entrepreneurs, local schools and voluntary organisations.


"Having separated from my partner many years ago I'd put off divorce proceedings for man years. Catherine at Wolferstans ensured everything went through smoothly and timely and kept me fully informed throughout what could have been an even more stressful time."

"I am grateful for Vikki’s support and guidance throughout the process, and would highly recommend her services to others in similar circumstances to mine...coming out of the divorce financially, physically and mentally intact with both children still part of my life is an outcome that had previously felt out of reach."

"Rebecca Moloney provided me with a first class service in getting my stressful Divorce sorted and within a quick timeframe. Rebecca had to tackle many hurdles in the process and overcome them with professionalism which she did with ease. She always kept me updated with the case on how it was proceeding which put my mind at rest which was a great help. I am really grateful for the service they provided me and I will certainly recommend Wolferstan's and Rebecca in the future to any friends or family."

Get in touch with our family lawyers in Plymouth, Plympton or Plymstock

For advice on all aspects of dividing pensions on divorce, please get in touch with our specialist solicitors today. You can call us on 01752 648870 or complete the enquiry form on our contact page.