Getting a Pension Sharing Order in the UK

A pension sharing order, also referred to as a PSO, is a court issued order stating how pensions are divided after a divorce.

At AWH Solicitors we know how important it is to set out legally binding agreements regarding pensions through pension sharing orders at the time of the divorce, which is why we are here for you.

We will be by your side throughout your divorce proceedings and can help you get your pension sharing order issued swiftly, often without you having to appear in court.

The Pension Sharing Process

Because a pension is as much of an asset as for example a house, couples who are divorcing should include what they have accumulated in pension in their total worth.

Therefore, during divorce negotiations each spouse must obtain a valuation of the other’s pension. It is important to note that the valuation cannot be older than 12 months.

When assessing the value of each spouse’s pension funds, all funds are considered. This means that even pension built up prior to the marriage or civil partnership is included within the pension share calculation.

How a Pension Sharing Order is Calculated

The court will calculate what percentage of the transfer value of accumulated pension you or your ex-spouse is entitled to, with the total transfer value calculated the day before the pension sharing order takes effect.

Where pension sharing orders are required a court must be involved to issue the order, as pension providers cannot transfer or otherwise divide any part of a pension without such a court order.

This does not mean that you will need to argue over your pension sharing arrangements in court though, as we can often help couples come to an agreement amicably.

Is a Pension Sharing Order Right for You?

There could be instances where alternatives to getting a PSO are more suitable to you in your current situation, so it’s worth considering all your options before making that important decision.

Only couples who were married or in a civil partnership and are now separating can opt for a pension sharing order. Unmarried and cohabitating couples do not have this opportunity.

Offsetting Pension

The main alternative to pension sharing to consider is called offsetting.

With this option you can offset the value of the accrued pension against other assets, such as the value of the family home.

It is a relatively straight-forward option and it will reward you with a “clean break” in the same way as a pension sharing order would.

Receiving Pension from Your Ex

To receive a share of your ex’s pension you do not need to be a member of the same pension scheme as them.

If you are receiving your pension share on another scheme, under your own name, this would be referred to as an external transfer.

It is called an internal transfer when you are or become a member of your ex’s scheme.

Pension Transfer Timeframes

Even though you may have already calculated and agreed on the pension sharing order, the order will only come into effect after the decree absolute is granted and the divorce is finalised.

After receiving confirmation of the finalization of the divorce the pension provider is given four months to transfer the funds to the correct account.

The Importance of Assessing Pension Value

There have still been many cases where pension value was overlooked or underestimated, leaving one party worse off financially than the other.

Even though pension sharing is not compulsory, all options should be considered during divorce negotiations.

Our expert family law solicitors can help you to assess what options are best for you and how much pension you would be entitled to under a pension sharing order.

Divorce Solicitors Manchester

At AWH Solicitors we understand that your divorce is both emotionally and practically a difficult and challenging process.

Because of this, our solicitors will always focus on providing you with their expert advice and guidance in a sympathetic and caring manner, supporting you through this complicated time.

Long Lasting Effects of Divorce

There are many aspects to divorce that can have long term effects on the lives of the parties involved, which can include the children and parents of each spouse.

Handling all the legal proceedings with care and competence from the outset will help avoid negative long-lasting court battles, tied up finances and even future claims on your assets from your ex.

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