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What is a pension sharing order?

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A pension sharing order may be used to divide up what are often some of the most valuable assets: the pensions. For many divorcing couples, one of the most difficult parts of the process is agreeing how to divide financial assets.

In this article, we’ll explain what a pension sharing order is and how it fits in to the financial settlement upon divorce.


What is a pension sharing order?

A pension sharing order states how much of your pension your spouse will receive as part of the divorce settlement. A pension sharing order is used when a couple decide to share pensions upon divorce.

Granting a pension sharing order has been possible since December 2000.

A pension sharing order enables a couple to have a clean break.

For many couples, pensions are one of the most valuable assets, after the family home. As such, they often make up a large part of divorce financial settlement negotiations.

This is why it is important to seek legal advice regarding a possible pension sharing order – and the financial settlement as a whole – as early on as possible in the divorce process.


How does a pension sharing order work?

A pension sharing order enables one spouse to receive a percentage of the other spouse’s pension/s upon divorce. Pensions are valued for the purposes of divorce on their cash equivalent value.

The percentage of the pension (as detailed in the pension sharing order and known as “pension credit”) is then either:

• transferred into an existing pension (in the receiving spouse’s name)
• transferred into a new pension (again, in the receiving spouse’s name) or
• transferred into an extra pension in the ex-spouse’s pension scheme


Is a pension sharing order a 50/50 split?

No, a pension sharing order does not necessarily have to include a 50/50 division of a pension. If an agreement cannot be reached about what the division of the pension/s should be, the court will determine how the pension/s will be divided, taking into account the assets and finances of both spouses.


Do we need a pension sharing order?

A pension sharing order will not be appropriate for everyone. It is just one available option. This is why it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a solicitor experienced in this area of law, such as Austin Kemp, so you can make an informed decision about which option is best for you.


When does a pension sharing order take effect?

A pension sharing order cannot be enforced until it comes into effect. A pension sharing order will come into effect on whichever is later of either:

• the decree absolute being granted or
• 28 days after the date of the pension sharing order


Can a pension sharing order be reversed?

Yes, a pension sharing order can be reversed in some circumstances. However, there is a strict time limit. As always, seek advice from a solicitor experienced in this area of law, such as Austin Kemp, to find out if reversing a pension sharing order may be possible in your circumstances.


Do you need help with pension sharing on divorce?

Our expert divorce and family law solicitors can help you with a range of legal issues, including:


Contact our expert divorce solicitors for advice on pension sharing on divorce

For more information on your divorce and pension options, call our divorce solicitors on 0845 862 5001 or mail@austinkemp.co.uk.

Our expert divorce solicitors offer a nationwide service. We have client meeting office facilities available, in order to have face-to-face client meetings / conferences as and when required in our:

Leeds Office: St Andrew House, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5JW

Sheffield Office: Pinfold Street, The Balance, Sheffield, S1 2GU

Manchester Office: King Street, Manchester, M2 4PD

Wakefield Office: Market Walk, Wakefield, WF1 1QR

Canary Wharf Office: 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5LB

London Office: 01 Nothumberland Avenue, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5BW

Please contact us for more details.


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