Pensions in Divorce

Published by abansal on

Divorce is a journey filled with complex decisions and a financial settlement may be an aspect you may find overwhelming. You may not think that pensions are an important part of a financial settlement but they can actually be one of the most valuable assets. 

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A on ‘Divorce and Pensions’ with Michael Hayes, Family Barrister. Michael shared his insights on what pension information you should obtain, how pensions could be divided and more.

This blog delves into the fundamentals of pensions to give you more confidence in understanding this crucial aspect of divorce settlements. Whether you’re already going through divorce or are contemplating the decision, we hope to provide clarity on a topic which can often be misunderstood.

What is a pension?

A pension is a long-term savings scheme that helps you save money for later life. You contribute to a scheme, a government ‘tops it up’ through tax relief and the money can be used as retirement income.

Types of pensions

There are three main types of pensions in the UK:

  • Workplace pensions – A way of saving for your retirement arranged by your employer. A percentage of your pay is put into a pension scheme every payday and in most cases, employers also add money to the pension scheme. For example, you may pay 5% and your employer may pay 3% which makes the total contribution to the pension 8%.
  • Private pensions – Also known as a personal pension, it is a pension that you arrange yourself. There are different types of personal pensions which include stakeholder pensions and self-invested pensions but what you get from the pension depends on how much money you have paid in and how the fund’s investments have performed.
  • State pension (including public-sector e.g NHS, teachers, police) – A regular payment from the government which most people can claim when they reach State Pension age. The amount you get depends on your National Insurance record. Public sector employee pensions are also paid by the state.

Pensions in divorce

In his presentation, Michael Hayes covered in detail the important aspects of dealing with pensions in divorce. He explained how courts deal with pensions, what methods of dealing with pensions there are and what happens if pensions are held overseas.

To get a deeper understanding of pensions, you can view Michael’s presentation in our Members’ Area. To access the Members’ Area you need to be a member of Asian Single Parents Network. You can find out more and sign up on

If you’re already a member of our Network, you can access the recording of the presentation by logging in to ‘MY ASP’ using your email and password, or creating an account if you haven’t signed up for it yet.

Obtaining specialist advice

Pensions can be an extremely valuable asset during a divorce settlement therefore if you’re going through a divorce, or are planning to, it is best to seek advice from a qualified financial advisor and/or a pension actuary who can provide you with the advice you require, and support you in protecting your financial future.

Pensions questions

During the Q&A, members raised some great questions such as:

  • “I don’t currently know how much my ex has in their private pension, which has been paid into for 20 years. Is there a way to find this information out?”
  • “Can a proportion of my pension be ring fenced for my children before the assets are split in divorce?”
  • “Are pension contributions before marriage also included in the financial settlement? We have been married for almost 11 years and are 40 and 46 years old.”
  • “What is the court’s position to pension in a marriage that was relatively short of approx 6 years, and can I keep my pension?”
  • “My main one is regarding pension rights as they stand now x i.e. can a man or wife still claim work pensions from the other spouse?”

Our Q&As are extremely valuable in providing useful information thanks to experts, and members also have the opportunity to ask questions specific to single parents and their own situation.

Disclaimer: The law may have changed since the video was made so it’s worth checking if there have been any updates.