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Freeths - Law firm

Pensions & Divorce

Security for the future

What is involved?

Pensions are often dealt with as part of the financial settlement on divorce. Sometimes they have a considerable value and it is important that they are taken into account in dividing assets fairly between the parties. Expert assistance may be needed to help unravel this complex area and our experienced family lawyers will provide advice about the best approach to take in your particular circumstances.

When the division of pensions is discussed a pension scheme cash equivalent value (CEV) may be used as a starting point. This is because a pension is often treated as a capital asset even though it is not liquid cash. Because pension also provides income, input from an actuary may be required to look at how the pension can be shared to provide income for both parties on their retirement

In a divorce, pensions can be dealt with either by a pension sharing, offsetting, or by earmarking. All of these options require a Court Order to be effective. Read more about these three options below to see what is right for you.

Why choose Freeths?

  • We clearly explain the options and help to choose the best solution for you and your family
  • Our family lawyers have extensive experience in handling the complexities of pensions
  • We develop innovative cost proportionate solutions to difficult problems, carefully tailored to your individual needs
  • We will be able to recommend well renowned actuaries if formal calculations are required
  • We are ranked in the top tier by both the Legal 500 and Chambers for family law advice

Call our friendly, professional family team to find out how we can help you.

Pension sharing order

This is where a percentage of one party’s pension is transferred to a pension, which belongs to the other. Both parties end up with completely separate pension funds and this can help secure a clean break. There can be considerable administrative costs to be paid to the pension provider for this service.


Offsetting is where one party is compensated for the loss of pension rights by receipt of other assets. For example, one party might keep a property or more cash, while the other retains their pension.


Earmarking means that a percentage of the member’s pension is set aside for the ex-spouse to claim on retirement. The benefits are not necessarily watertight, and would be lost if the ex-spouse remarries or the member dies.

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Meet the team

Pensions & Divorce Lawyers

Tom Burgess, Associate

Tom Burgess

0845 404 1715

Claire Colbert, Partner

Claire Colbert

0845 128 6961

Diana Copestake, Partner

Diana Copestake

0845 272 5674

Gemma Nicholls-Webber, Senior Associate

Gemma Nicholls-Webber
Senior Associate

0845 404 1714

Rachael Oakes, Partner & Head pf Famoly & Platinum Client Services

Rachael Oakes

0845 128 6960

Judith Speed, Partner

Judith Speed

0845 274 6868

Joanne Thomas, Associate

Joanne Thomas

0845 404 4120


"I was really satisfied with the team. I felt very supported. Nothing was too much trouble, and I could always get hold of the lawyers. They were helpful, supportive and friendly, and they explained everything in layman's terms."

(Chambers & Partners, 2016)

"I felt well advised throughout and was particularly impressed by her manner."

"You have been an incredible help through this whole process. I am very impressed with your diligence, attention to detail and above all, personal ability and care through the whole procedure and am grateful for your patience in helping me understand everything clearly."

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

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Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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