Pensions Divorce – The Laws Make Sure You Have Access to His
Pensions after Your Divorce
When it comes to a divorce, pensions are considered to be a very important
asset as next to the house the pension may be the most valuable asset in the marriage.
The Pensions Act of 1995 and the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act of 1999 have changed the way divorce courts
treat pensions when a couple get divorced.
For many years the courts have had the right to take a close look at both pensions and a pension
Divorce no longer means that the person with the pension is the only one who has a claim to it;
often the husband might have a large pension after years on the job while the wife who quit work to raise the kids
does not. In cases like this the wife will likely be granted special compensation to make up for her lack of a real
When a couple stays married through to retirement age it is reasonable to assume that the wife
will enjoy the husband's pension benefits, divorce can put an end to this as there is no such thing as an automatic
entitlement to half of the spouses pension. When a husband dies the wife ordinarily receives a portion of the
pension known most commonly as a survivor's pension, again if there is a divorce no rights to the pension
In 1995 the Pensions Acts attempted to correct this problem by allowing the courts to earmark a
percentage of the husband's pension to be paid to the wife in the event of a divorce. However this
was not without its problems, if the husband was to die the pension would die with him and the ex wife would still
She would also have to wait until the husband decides he is going to actually take his pension
which could be much later than anticipated. Also the amount could be varied and the husband could be subject to
future claims by the wife as circumstances changed.
To remedy this Parliament passed the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act in 1999, this act worked
together with the previous one passed in 1995 to make sure that no matter what the wife would receive a percentage
of the husband's pension. For the first time the husbands pension could actually be split into two separate
entities, one for each party and thus the wife would finally receive a pension that could not be taken away from
her and did not die when her ex husband dies.
These are the basic principles of the Welfare Reform and Pension Act along with how they affect both spouses in a
divorce. Given that in most marriages the pension is one the largest assets if not the largest capital asset and
it must be taken into account by both attorneys and the courts. With the passage of this act the wife has
pension rights a divorce can no longer take away leaving her secure in the knowledge that she will be more
financially secure in her old age.