Pensions and divorce in Scotland
Produced in partnership with Claire Miller of Pinsent Masons
Pensions and divorce in Scotland

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with Claire Miller of Pinsent Masons provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Pensions and divorce in Scotland
  • In what situations will the pension sharing regime apply?
  • What are the main differences between the law on pensions and divorce in Scotland and the law on pensions and divorce in the rest of the UK?
  • How do pension sharing orders work in Scotland?
  • Qualifying Agreement
  • Court Order
  • Start of implementation period
  • Information to be provided to the trustees
  • Extension to implementation period
  • Charges
  • more

This Practice Note provides a high-level summary of pension sharing orders on divorce in Scotland as they relate to defined benefit pension schemes. It is not intended to cover every aspect of the pension sharing regime.

The key legislation and regulations applicable to pensions and divorce in Scotland are:

  1. the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 (FL(S)A 1985)

  2. Part IV of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 (WRPA 1999), and

  3. the Pensions on Divorce etc (Pension Sharing) (Scotland) Regulations 2000, SI 2000/1051

However, there are also several other regulations which are relevant, some of which are referred to within this Practice Note.

On divorce of marriage or dissolution of civil partnership, a pension can represent part of the assets that make up the matrimonial property. The court can make an order to redistribute the pension between the parties to the marriage or civil partnership, or the parties can come to an agreement between them as to how the pension is to be distributed.

The court can issue one of the following orders:

  1. a pension sharing order

  2. a pension compensation sharing order

  3. a pension lump sum

  4. a pension compensation order

The parties to the marriage or civil partnership can also enter into a qualifying agreement which can create a pension sharing order on decree of divorce or dissolution being granted, as opposed to the pension sharing being