New guide to help divorcing couples understand pension rights in divorce

A charity has urged divorcing couples to consider how their pensions will be split before agreeing to a financial settlement.

The warning comes after the publication of a new free-to-access guide, known as the Survival Guide to Pensions on Divorce, developed by Advicenow in partnership with the Pensions Advisory Guide and the Nuffield Foundation.

According to the charity, the step-by-step guide will help divorcing couples understand “what they need to do about pensions”, “how to find out what they are worth”, and “what to do if they can’t come to an agreement”.

Endorsed by the President of the Family Division and the Family Justice Council, the report comes after recent research revealed that fewer than one in six divorces include a pension order of any kind.

Commenting on the guide, Advicenow’s Beth Kirkland said: “Pensions are viewed by many couples as too complicated or intimidating, and a lack of user-friendly information compounds the problem. While many of us find thinking about future finances stressful, it is dangerous to ignore them. And there is ample research that shows that not sharing pensions can lead to women who have children particularly being in unnecessarily precarious financial positions in later life.”

Ash Patel, Justice Programme Head at the Nuffield Foundation, added: “Splitting pensions fairly in a divorce can prevent profound and long lasting effects for those involved.

“However, it is easy to see how pensions, which are often perceived as complex and quite intangible, are overlooked and avoided during a time of emotional stress and potentially immediate financial uncertainty.”

A study published last year also found that women who divorce later in life may be “missing out on huge sums” in state pension rights. This is because women who reached the state pension age before 06 April 2016 come under the old state pension divorce system, which makes “significant provision for divorced women”.

But the research, published by financial services firm LCP, revealed that women rarely benefit from the “pension uplift” they are entitled to because few know that they must notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of their divorce first.

For help and advice on related matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at alison.green@mackrell.com

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.