What is a Pension Sharing Order?

In divorce situations, since the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act, pension funds and other assets must be considered when dealing with divorce settlements. So in the case of a wife who has perhaps raised a family and looked after the home, and therefore not accumulated her own pension, she will be entitled to a share of her husband’s pension pot if the Court awards a Pension Sharing Order.

A pension sharing order and pension sharing annex essentially entitles the ex-spouse (in this case the wife) to receive an agreed amount from the pension member's pension fund. The wife receives a pension credit, which is taken from the husband’s overall pension pot. If the husband is a member of more than one pension scheme, the wife would be entitled to a percentage from each scheme.

The pension credit is then usually transferred out of the existing scheme into a new one solely in the name of the wife. This is often the stage where people come to us for help, in deciding on the best place to transfer their pension credit to. There is usually a four month window in which the Pension Sharing Order needs to be implemented and the transfer completed although we often advise on them when they have not been acted on for a number of years.

You will know when you are ready to discuss your pension sharing order with us, as you will have been sent a Court Order stamped by the Court, and a pension sharing annex which details exactly what percentage share of whose pension fund you are entitled to.  It is not uncommon to have a number of pension sharing orders in relation to a number of your ex-spouses pension funds and we can implement them all in one go.