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A court must take into account any pensions and pension rights that you or spouse or civil partner have in work-based schemes and personal pension plans. The settlement can treat pensions in a number of different ways:

  • Pension sharing, you are awarded a percentage share of any one (or more) of your ex-spouse's pensions. This share is transferred into a pension in your own name.
  • Ear-marking or attachment, you would receive an agreed amount of your ex-spouse's net pension income and / or lump sum when it starts being paid to them.
  • Off-setting, the value of pensions is offset against other assets. For instance; you may have a greater share of the family home in return for your ex-spouse keeping his or her pensions.

See Splitting what you have for more information. Only a court can order pension sharing, earmarking or attachment, so if you think these would be options for you, contact a solicitor (see Useful links).

Read more about Pensions

Read how others coped:
'I didn't expect this at my age. To be honest I felt numb, thunderstruck.
People my age, we've learned to brace ourselves for widowhood but not divorce. Once I got my head around the initial shock of it, I started to think about practicalities. We have quite a comfortable life together, but mainly because of my pensions, my lifetime of work. When I talked to my solicitor, she told me that a court can order the pension schemes to pay part of my pension direct to my wife. Apparently, her state pension is likely to increase to the full rate so that will be taken into account. And it may be possible to reduce the pension she gets from me by offsetting some of it with a lump sum from the house or our savings.'

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