Are Pensions Included in Divorce Settlements?

According to a new survey by UK consumer champion Which?, just 15% of divorcing couples in the UK include pensions in their final financial settlements. With ongoing confusion surrounding which assets should be included in a divorce settlement, we answer the question, “are pensions included in divorce settlements?”

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Are pensions included in divorce settlements? – what you need to know

  • What are matrimonial assets? Matrimonial, or marital assets are financial assets that have been built up by a married couple throughout the duration of the marriage. They typically include the family home, other residential properties, savings, stocks, bonds, funds, vehicles, and any businesses owned by the couple.
  • What about non-matrimonial assets? These are typically financial assets that existed either before or after the marriage. They are the same as matrimonial assets but were simply acquired outside of the marriage period and are therefore treated differently.
  • Are pensions considered to be assets? While they may not always be immediately thought of as such, pensions can be the largest assets shared by a couple. This is particularly the case if one of the parties works for one of the area’s largest local employers, such as BAE, BNFL or the emergency services. According to the Office for National Statistics, pensions make up 42% of all wealth in Britain.

Are pensions included in divorce settlements? – know what you’re entitled to

Pension sharing orders were introduced in the UK in 1999. They are essentially court orders that can be used to divide a couple’s pension assets in divorce or civil partnership dissolution proceedings. These orders are issued by the court and must be applied for by a party in the divorce.

Despite pensions now being considered as marital assets, studies show that 58% of divorcing couples do not even discuss pensions during divorce proceedings. Pension wealth is often unequally distributed upon divorce, meaning women are more likely to miss out on marital assets that they are entitled to. Studies show that the average married woman aged 65-69 has just £28,000 in pension wealth, while the average man has nearly 10 times that. This means that divorces where pensions are not equally split can leave women significantly worse-off in financial terms.

Make sure you get what you are entitled to

At Progression Solicitors we understand that a divorce can be a very stressful situation, before even considering the splitting of one or multiple pensions. It’s important to discuss your situation with a specialist divorce solicitor or financial advisor before taking action. At Progression solicitors our specialist Divorce and Family team take account of all matrimonial assets including pensions when advising our clients on an appropriate and reasonable settlement agreement.

We’re here to help you throughout every stage of your divorce proceedings, from initial consultation to achieving a final resolution. All of our Divorce and Family solicitors are members of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way and with as little conflict as possible. Our expert team can advise you on the divorce process, steps required before issuing divorce, and financial matters arising from your separation. We understand that no two cases are ever the same when it comes to dividing assets and calculating the division of income and on-going maintenance.

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Speak with us today for discrete and private fixed-fee advice on divorce and other family and financial matters. Contact us today to arrange an appointment on 01229 580956 or email us at

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