Pensions and judicial separation
Produced in partnership with Rebecca Dziobon of Penningtons Manches Cooper
Pensions and judicial separation

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

  • Pensions and judicial separation
  • Valuable widow's/widower’s benefits
  • Nomination of pension benefits to an ex-spouse/ex-civil partner
  • Offsetting
  • Pension attachment orders
  • Procedure
  • Prescribed valuation method
  • Appeals—pension attachment orders
  • Variation of pension attachment orders
  • Effect of remarriage or formation of new civil partnership on existing pension order

On proceedings for judicial separation the court has the power to redistribute the benefits derived from pension resources between the parties by:

  1. making one or more pension attachment orders, and/or

  2. offsetting the value of pension resources against the value of other assets held between the parties

Pension sharing is not available in judicial separation proceedings. The parties will legally remain spouses/civil partners once the proceedings have concluded.

Valuable widow's/widower’s benefits

One of the main reasons why a party may issue proceedings for judicial separation rather than divorce/dissolution relates to pensions: the widow’s/widower’s pension payable under the terms of their spouse’s/civil partner’s pension arrangement(s) may be of such importance to their financial future that they cannot afford to lose the status of widow/widower in the event of the other party’s death.

Nomination of pension benefits to an ex-spouse/ex-civil partner

In some cases it may still be possible to issue divorce/dissolution proceedings and protect such pension benefits. Full information about the pension(s) in question should be obtained. The following questions may be asked of the pension provider:

  1. what will happen to the pension benefits if the person with pension rights dies before or after benefits are taken, and

  2. what are the options available to the person with pension rights to direct any lump sum(s) or pension income to third parties should they die either before the pension benefits are taken or

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