New law for ‘no fault’ divorce, but financial planners urge caution


The government has announced new legislation to allow for a ‘no fault’ divorce.

Divorce law hasn’t changed since 1973. This is the first change in the divorce system for more than 40 years and will remove the need for either side to show ‘fault’, ending the right of one party to contest an application for divorce from the other.

Currently divorces are only granted after it can be proved that the marriage has broken down because of adultery, desertion or “unreasonable behaviour”, or, because both spouses agree to the divorce and have lived separately for more than two years.

New legislation should help reduce family conflict and even speed the process up.

BUT BE WARNED… Pensions can be particularly problematic and divorcing couples shouldn’t neglect this as divorce gets quicker.

Pensions are greatest source of wealth for some divorcees

For many people in the UK, pensions top property as their largest source of wealth.

It is essential that couples agree upon the splitting of pensions before applying for the decree nisi and failure to implement this before the decree absolute means it’s too late!!

The split

Divorcees have three different options to split pensions:

Offsetting: This is where the value of the pension is offset against other assets, such as the family home. It is often seen as the simplest option and can give divorcing couples a clean break.

Attachment or earmarking: When one party starts to take their pension, the other spouse is entitled to a share. The problem is that they won’t receive anything until their ex decides to take their retirement, which may take a while. It tends to be used if there are no assets to offset

Sharing: One spouse gets a share (%) of the other’s pension, which is either held in the same scheme or transferred to a personal pension scheme. This is a popular option and gets around the problem of a lack of alternative assets to split


So decide on the kind of split that suits you and seek Financial advice as you may need an independent person to value the pensions.

This information is provided strictly for general consideration only. No action must be taken or refrained from based on its contents alone. Accordingly, no responsibility can be assumed for any loss occasioned about the content hereof and any such action or inaction. Professional advice is necessary for every case.

Kerina Bradburn MLIBF DipFA