Divorce & Pensions

When you work with our divorce financial advice solicitors we promise:

  • We will respond to all emails sent during working hours within 24 hours.
  • We pick up our phone. You will be able to directly speak to your solicitor.
  • We listen to you and get to know you. We listen to your story.
  • We care. We treat our clients how we want to be treated and rely on word-of mouth-referrals.
  • We explain things clearly, in plain English, with no unnecessary legal jargon.
  • We provide a first-class service. The majority of our work comes from client recommendations.

When splitting finances in divorce, what happens to pensions is often a confusing and potentially contentious issue. Those who could stand to lose out if they are no longer able to benefit from their spouse’s pension will understandably be concerned, while it is also normal to worry about how your own pension may be affected.

At Lewis Denley, we are here to make your life easier. Our Family Law team can help you to make sure pensions are handled the right way in your divorce settlement with clear, sensible advice on your rights, what you can expect from a settlement and the best approach to take for your circumstances.

Our divorce and financial settlement advice service is led by Senior Associate Solicitor Marwa Hadi-Barnes. With over 14 years’ experience helping people with their divorce finances, Marwa offers tried-and-tested expertise delivered with sensitivity and empathy at what can be a very difficult time.

Marwa has been recognised for her standout expertise in leading client guides, the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. She is a member of family law network Resolution, an organisation that shares her commitment to removing conflict from divorce.

Based in central Horsham, our divorce and pensions lawyers help clients across Sussex, Surrey and beyond, including in Rudgwick, Billingshurst, Crawley, Ewhurst, Gatwick, Copthorne, Pulborough, Dorking, Reigate, Godalming, Guildford, Midhurst and Brighton

Our divorce financial advice pricing is clear and transparent. Find out more about our divorce and financial settlement advice fees.

We take pride in being approachable, helpful and here for our community.

We offer a free 30-minute consultation with Marwa Hadi-Barnes to discuss your divorce pension arrangements and how we can help.

Our expertise with divorce and pensions

Our divorce and pensions solicitors can advise on all the issues you need to consider, including:

  • Your entitlement to your spouse’s pension
  • Protecting your pension
  • Different options for dealing with pensions during divorce, including:
    • Pension offsetting
    • Pension sharing
    • Pension earmarking

We can also help you with all other aspects of your divorce and finances, including other complex issues, such as dealing with business assets and international assets.

How pensions can be split in divorce

There are three main options for dealing with pensions during divorce (although only two of these are commonly used).

Pension offsetting

Pensions offsetting is the most commonly used way of dealing with pensions in divorce.

Pension offsetting involves one of the spouse’s agreeing to surrender any right they might have over the other spouse’s pension in exchange for receiving a larger share of other assets in the divorce settlement. The value of the pension is thus ‘offset’ by the value of those other assets.

Pension offsetting can be a good option where the couple want to make a clean break as it allows them to completely cut financial ties with each other. This makes it easy to administer.

Working out the value of the pension that needs to be offset will be done on the basis of the pension’s transfer value. This is the value that would be transferred to a new pension if the pension holder decided to move their pension and is calculated by the trustees of the pension scheme.

Pension sharing

Pension sharing is also a fairly common option and can be preferred where the spouse who stands to lose access to their spouse’s pension wishes to have a pension pot of their own.

In pension sharing, a percentage of the pension pot accrued towards the pension that is to be shared will be placed into a separate pension scheme for the sole benefit of the receiver. They will thus have their own separate pension, giving a clean break from their former spouse and financial security for the future.

Pension earmarking

Pension earmarking is rarely used but can be an option in some special circumstances.

Pension earmarking involves a percentage of the pension income being paid to the person who would otherwise have lost out on the benefit of the pension due to the divorce.

Pension earmarking is rarely used as it involves the former spouses continuing to be financially tied together and can require more effort to administer.

How we can help you with pensions and divorce

Reaching an amicable agreement

It is normally possible for a divorcing couple to agree voluntarily on how their finances will be divided, including what will happen to any pensions either party holds.

This is typically achieved either through private negotiation between the couple and their solicitors or through a process called mediation, where the couple work with a trained professional called a mediator to agree on a settlement.

At Lewis Denley, our divorce and pensions solicitors can assist with matters including:

  • Advice on your pension rights during divorce
  • Representation for private negotiations
  • Preparing for divorce mediation
  • Advice on the terms of any settlement reached
  • Making a voluntary settlement legally binding by applying to a court for a Consent Order

Applying to a court for help with pensions and divorce

If you cannot agree on how pensions should be treated during divorce or any other issues related to your divorce finances, it may be necessary to apply to a court to decide what the outcome should be.

Our divorce and pensions lawyers can assist with:

  • Applying for a Financial Order to decide how your finances should be divided (including pensions)
  • Applying for a Pension Sharing Order to decide how pensions should be shared
  • Preparing your case for your court hearing
  • Securing expert family court representation
  • Advising you on the details of any court order that is issued, including your obligations under the Order and your right of appeal

Divorce and pensions FAQs

Will my spouse get half my pension if we divorce?

Pensions are treated like any other assets during divorce, so the default position is that your spouse will likely have an entitlement to your pension. However, every situation is unique, and exactly what their entitlement might be will depend on the circumstances.

The different ways of dividing pensions in divorce are set out above, but if you are concerned about protecting your pension, there are options, including allowing your spouse to have a greater share of other assets, such as your family home.

Can I protect my pension when getting divorced?

It is normal for people to be anxious about this, given the implications for your future financial security. The good news is, there are options to preserve the value of your pension during divorce.

The most common way to do this is through a process known as ‘pension offsetting’, which means your spouse takes a greater share of other assets. You can read more about this in the section on pension offsetting above.

Am I still entitled to a share of my ex-spouse’s pension if I remarry?

Remarrying means that if you do not already have a financial settlement or Financial Order in place, you will lose the right to make a claim against most of your former spouse’s assets. However, the one type of asset you can still make a claim against is their pension.

Remarrying will, therefore, not affect your right to claim against your ex-spouse’s pension. However, it is still generally a good idea to sort out the division of finances before remarrying to avoid any impact on your other financial entitlements.

Our divorce and pensions advice fees

The legal costs involved in dealing with divorce and pensions can be a concern, especially where your financial situation is uncertain. We are committed to transparency with our family law pricing, so will always be upfront about the costs involved, including our fees and any third-party costs.

We will be happy to discuss all the likely costs involved once we have a clearer picture of your requirements, which is something we can cover during your free initial consultation.

Book a free 30-minute consultation with our divorce and pensions solicitor

We want to make dealing with pensions in divorce as easy as possible. If you have any questions about how we can help you navigate this challenging time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Our specialist divorce and pensions solicitor will be happy to offer a free 30-minute consultation over the phone or via videoconference.

To arrange your free 30-minute consultation, please contact Marwa Hadi-Barnes today.

Speak to an expert

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    Marwa Hadi did a first class job.  I would recommend her to anybody.

    Thank you very much Marwa.  I just wanted to say that your efficiency and helpfulness has been of great help to me through what has obviously been a very difficult time for me.  I would be happy to recommend your services to anyone else I know who finds themselves in this situation.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work and good solid advice along the way.  I am very pleased with the outcome and feel I can finally start to think about building a new life for me and the children.

    I just wanted to thank you for all your help. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better result and I was so worried. I can only thank you for your kindness. Your response to the pension report made excellent reading and I could tell that a lot of work had gone into it.

    I am very grateful for all the support you have provided me with over this very stressful time and you have always been utterly professional, thank you

    I would like to thank you for all the patience and assistance you have given me during this time and for getting me through to the end with my health, sanity and pension untouched

    Just a quick message to say thank you for all your help in resolving my divorce efficiently. You are a credit to your profession

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for all your efforts over the last year. It has been a very stressful time to be and I’m glad that you managed to achieve what we set out to achieve in that I’m having contact with my daughter