Family Law Blog

Pensions Update

17 December 2017, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Since pension sharing was introduced two decades ago, many women (and men) have steered clear of making claims against the pensions of their spouses in divorce proceedings.

The Scottish Widows Women and Retirement report 2012 revealed that only 11% of women took pensions into account (see our 2012 blog understanding pensions on divorce). Five years later the most recent Scottish Widows Women and Retirement report 2017 indicates that the number of women who had discussed pensions in divorce settlements had only risen to 22%.

This is due most likely to lack of knowledge rather than strict avoidance, because nearly half of women  have no idea what happens to their own and their husband’s pensions on divorce.

Statistics show women are less prepared for retirement;

  • 52% of women as against 59% adequately prepare for retirement.
  • 25% of wives have smaller pensions than their husbands.
  • Many women have no pension provision, save for the state retirement pension.

Most people would think that the most valuable matrimonial asset is the matrimonial home this is not the case, especially where the couples are in middle age and one of them has a final salary pension.

The value of final salary pensions has been soaring. Under todays flexible pension rules, anyone with a defined benefits scheme from a private company, not the public sector, can demand a cash transfer and if 55 years and over access funds in the scheme.

It is important that divorcing couples obtain expert advice from an independent financial adviser, who specialises in pensions.

Although most pension sharing orders are made in favour of women, husbands with inferior pension provision are still entitled to pension sharing orders. We have recently acted for two husbands who obtained a share of their wives Teachers Pensions.

If you would like to find out more information about the issues raised above, please contact Susan Taylor. 0161 883 0460 or email