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

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
  • Death benefits
  • 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

Pensions and judicial separation

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

See also Practice Note: General principles—pensions in family proceedings—Options available.

Pension sharing is not available in judicial separation proceedings. The parties will legally remain spouses/civil partners once the proceedings have concluded—see also Practice Notes: Grounds for judicial separation and Separation provisions for civil partnership.

Death 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. The first step will be to ascertain how a ‘spouse’ or ‘civil partner’ is defined in the scheme in question and whether that definition includes a separated spouse or 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 information may be requested from the pension provider:

  1. what will happen to the pension

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