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

Pension changes – NICs

06 August 2015, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

The New State Pension, replacing the old system, will affect those who reach state pension age on or after 6th April 2016.
Previously, if you had not contributed National Insurance payments for the requisite 30 years to obtain the full state pension, but your spouse/civil partner had, you could claim a full state pension based on their contributions.

However, if you reach state pension age on or after 6th April 2016 your state pension will normally be based on your own National Insurance contributions only.

Under the new state pension, your state pension may be worked out in a different way if you chose to pay National Insurance contributions at a reduced rate under the married women’s reduced rate election before 1977. If this is the case then you will get a state pension that is about the same as the full rate basic state pension of £115.95 per week and any additional state pension you built up before 6th April 2016. Under these rules you do not need to have the minimum of 10 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions to get a state pension.

Pension Sharing Orders: A Study

20 March 2014, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

Taylor King frequently deal with cases involving pensions, including police and overseas pensions. Recently they acted on behalf of a husband who obtained a pension sharing order in respect of his wife’s pension. The first detailed study into pension sharing on divorce has recently been published – this article explores its findings.
Read more →

Understanding pensions on divorce

15 October 2012, by Taylor King Family Law Solicitors

The Scottish Widows Workplace Pensions Report 2012 has revealed that only 15% of divorced women surveyed said that pensions were discussed as part of their divorce settlement.

In a long marriage the pension can be the largest asset after the matrimonial home. It is essential that the pension is valued together with the other matrimonial assets. His is particularly important where the pension is a defined benefit scheme such as final salary and includes the “uniform sector”, i.e. police, fire service and armed forces.

During the divorce proceedings the court will require a cash transfer value (“CTV”) from the provider of the final salary pension. This figure assumes that the member of the scheme will be leaving the scheme at the date of the valuation. This is invariably an incorrect assumption because the member will be continuing in his employment. As a result the CTV can be underestimated and expert evidence may be necessary to provide an adjusted CTV because the member will not be an early leaver from the scheme.

In order to obtain an expert report it is necessary to obtain an order from the court. The court would need to be convinced that the value of the pension is significant to the value of the other matrimonial assets or that the scheme is very complex. The adjusted CTV will reflect a fair value of the retirement benefits under the scheme, including discretionary benefits. The adjusted CTV could be as much as 30% higher than the initial CTV.

Although there was a rise of 11% in the number of pension sharing orders made in divorce proceedings during 2011 the Scottish Widows Workplace Pensions Report 2012 revealed that only 15% of divorced women surveyed said that pensions were discussed as part of their divorce settlement. 78% of married women did not know their entitlements in respect of their husband’s pensions on divorce. It is therefore essential that individuals considering or going through divorce proceedings take advice from expert family law solicitors about their financial entitlements.