“Do I have to share my pension with my ex?” We hear this question a lot. The short answer is yes. We find many of our clients are surprised to hear that their pension pot will be included in the Divorce Settlement. Much like property and any other assets you may own, divorce and pensions go hand in hand. Pensions are an important asset which will be considered as part of the overall Financial Settlement you and your partner reach.
Divorce and Pensions: How will our pensions be split?
The UK law states that each party in a marriage is entitled to half of the pension contributions made throughout the duration of the marriage. Each person has an entitlement to 50% of the other’s pension – even if one of you doesn’t have a pension.
Although that may be the basic outline in UK law, just like all of your other assets, your pension won’t necessarily be split 50/50 during the divorce. In the first instance, it is hoped that you and your ex-partner can come to an amicable agreement on how your assets and pensions will be divided.
If for whatever reason this cannot happen, it may be that the Courts need to get involved. A Pension Sharing Order is the most common way of splitting retirement pots and will divide your pension at the time of divorce. The Court will look at all of the contributions made throughout the duration the marriage. Any contributions made prior to the marriage, can sometimes be successfully ringfenced. However, your ex-partner will always have some entitlement to the contributions made during the time that you were married.
How is it fair that I have to share my pension with my ex?
The circumstances of each marriage is different. But let’s just say that during the marriage, it was agreed that one person would give up work to stay home and raise the children. The law surrounding divorce and pensions has been put in place to protect the stay-at-home spouse in scenarios such as this. In the eyes of the law it would not be fair for that person to leave the marriage without a pension. Essentially, if pensions are left out of divorce, it could leave one party short in their retirement.
What happens if we can’t agree on how to split our pensions?
As we outlined earlier, if you and your ex can’t come to an agreement between yourselves, the Court will look at a Pension Share Order during the divorce process.
In order to make a decision the Court will consider a variety of factors. They will look at what assets are available within the marriage – such as property, savings, and pensions. And then they will consider the needs of both parties – this includes income needs and housing needs.
When it comes to pensions, the Court will consider the reasons why one party may not have worked. For instance, if they stayed home to raise children. Or if one party had a medical condition or disability that prevented them from working.
How can I get in touch to discuss my divorce and pensions?
We always recommend seeking legal advice to ensure you have covered all ground if you are considering leaving your partner. Our team of Family Law Specialists are on hand to navigate you through the divorce process, and to answer any questions about how your pension pot may be divided.
If you would like to get in touch, you can call our team on 0161 402 0213 or fill in the contact form found on our website.