Frequently Asked Questions

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Money

What happens to pensions when you divorce?

When you face the end of your marriage or civil partnership, it is important to discuss how your pensions will be shared.

A pension can be a valuable asset (sometimes the most valuable asset) which has been built up during your time together. Depending upon the length of your marriage and your ages, you will need to consider your income in retirement.

Even though you may be some years away from an age where you can access pension funds, these count as assets, just like money you might have in a bank or savings account.

It sometimes feels tricky to get the correct up-to-date information about the value of your pension, but unless you do, you won’t be able to provide the correct financial information that you need.

You will hear the term Cash Equivalent (CE) of your pension. This is the figure that your pension provider will produce when looking at the value of the fund. It is the amount that the pension provider would need to produce if the fund was being transferred from one fund to another. Some pension schemes provide the CE figure when producing their annual statements.  It may be necessary to contact your pension provider for the figure.  Unless the pension is in payment, the provider has to produce one CE calculation per year free of charge.

The Advicenow website provides a useful free ‘survival guide to pensions’ on divorce which you can download here.

The end of a relationship can be a stressful and emotionally challenging time, and pensions may be the last thing on your mind. Gerontology expert and Professor of Sociology at The University of Manchester, Debora Price, together with Dr Hayley James of UCD, has created an informative video, giving free and factual information on how to reach a fair financial settlement – which can be viewed here.