General principles—pensions in family proceedings
Produced in partnership with Rebecca Dziobon of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP
General principles—pensions in family proceedings

The following Family guidance note Produced in partnership with Rebecca Dziobon of Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • General principles—pensions in family proceedings
  • Courts' approach to pensions
  • Pensions reform
  • Options available
  • Financial advice

This Practice Note is impacted by the exit of the UK from the EU on 31 January 2020. This has implications for practitioners, inter alia, when considering which courts have jurisdiction to determine a dispute. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit and family law. This Practice Note sets out the current position on pensions in family proceedings.

In proceedings for divorce, nullity, judicial separation or dissolution of a civil partnership, the court has the power to redistribute the benefits derived from pension resources between the parties.

Sections 25(2)(h) and 25B(1)(b) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) require the court to have regard to the benefits under a pension arrangement that, by reason of dissolution of annulment of the marriage, a party to the marriage will lose the chance of acquiring. MCA 1973, ss 25(2)(a) and 25B(1)(a) focus on the benefits that a party to a marriage has, or is likely to have. There are equivalent provisions in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 (CPA 2004).

Pension sharing is only available where the court will make a final decree, ie the court cannot make a pension sharing order in judicial separation proceedings. See Practice Note: Pensions and judicial separation.

Pension rights will often form the second largest asset upon marriage or civil partnership breakdown, after the family home, particularly if one of the parties has, for