Pension Sharing Orders

Every year, as part of its annual Women and Retirement Report, Scottish Widows conducts research to assess the unique challenges facing women as they prepare for retirement. This year’s report has revealed some worrying statistics:

  • Women are less prepared for retirement, with only 52% saving adequately compared to 59% of men
  • Divorced women are even less prepared and a quarter (24%) of women are not saving anything into a pension
  • Almost half of women (48%) have no idea what happens to pensions when a couple get divorced

It is clear that women are struggling to save for retirement and the position can be made worse by divorce. It is important to ensure both men and women better understand the legalities around what happens to pension pots during divorce proceedings and treat them like the high-value assets they are. This is why pension advice on divorce is essential.

Divorce is a harsh reality for many in the UK because 42% of marriages end in divorce, and Scottish Widows’ research confirms that the most recent Ministry of Justice figures show that Pension Sharing Orders are made in just 11% of divorces.

The option for a Pension Sharing Order was introduced in 1999, this involves pension rights being divided at the time of the divorce or dissolution. When a Sharing Order is made, part of the ex spouse’s pension rights are awarded to the former spouse as a pension credit. This provides the former spouse with pension benefits in their own right.

One of the biggest advantages is that each party has independent pension benefits in their own right, under their control. Neither party’s rights are affected by the other’s subsequent death or remarriage. This is a very technical area and expert advice is essential. Innes Reid are pension Sharing Order specialists having acted for many clients in this complex area for many years.

For more information and advice on pensions, divorce and Pension Sharing Orders, contact Innes Reid today. Call us on 01244 347583 or email We are available at times to suit you.

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