The challenges of splitting pensions in a divorce

According to a survey of Which? members conducted in November 2021, only 15 per cent of divorcing couples include pensions in their financial settlement, even though pensions can be one of their biggest joint assets.

The number of older couples divorcing is rising, and private pensions are often the most valuable asset for a couple, sometimes worth even more than the family home.

However, even though the law changed in 2000 to allow divorcing couples to share pensions, too few consider this valuable asset during a financial settlement, even though it can make up more than 40 per cent of total household wealth.

According to Which? almost 60 per cent of respondents to their survey said pensions were not even discussed during divorce proceedings, which can be financially disastrous for a spouse with little or no retirement provision.

In fact, a recent study by the University of Manchester shows that the average married woman aged between 65-69 has just £28,000 in pension wealth, whereas the average man has almost ten times that amount.

Roger Isaacs, Forensic Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “Splitting pensions is one of the most complex areas of divorce and can baffle even some of the most experienced family lawyers.

In conjunction with our in-house financial advisory team, we can provide advice to solicitors and their clients about how best to frame instructions to Pension on Divorce Experts and how to interpret their findings as well as how to implement them to best effect.”

Posted in The Forensic Blog.