The only way you can share your pension with your former spouse and legally protect yourself from any future claims

Is with a solicitor drafted, court-approved pension sharing order

A common misunderstanding is that divorce also deals with the division of marital assets, such as houses, but this is not the case. The divorce process only deals with your marriage, not your finances. Years after a divorce, your former spouse can claim like the lottery winner who had to pay his ex-wife £2 million.

The only way you can make your financial agreements legally binding and protect your finances in the future is by getting a consent order.

A pension sharing consent order is a legal document describing the financial agreement between you and your former spouse. Once the court approves the pension-sharing consent order, it becomes legally binding, preventing either party from changing their mind and trying to claim more. It also instructs the pension provider or pension scheme to transfer the pension. Without the pension-sharing order, a pension provider cannot share a pension in England and Wales. 

A pension-sharing consent order will cover one or more of the following:

  • Pension sharing
  • Lump sum payments and property transfers
  • Selling the former marital home and sharing the proceeds
  • Splitting savings and investments
  • Who will pay any debts
  • Maintenance payments

As well as making your financial agreement legally binding, a pension-sharing consent order gives you clean break protection. Without this, either of you could claim against the other in the future, putting future pensions, inheritances and even a home bought with a new partner at risk.

A pension sharing consent order is for couples who’ve agreed on how they will share pensions and other assets that now want a legally binding order to instruct the pension scheme to transfer funds and ensure that neither party can change their minds over the agreement or make a financial claim against the other in the future. 

If you don’t need to split pensions, you need our standard consent order.

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Order your pension sharing order here

Pension Sharing Consent Order

If you have pensions to split
£ 599
  • All of the benefits of our financial consent order plus pension sharing order
  • A pension sharing order is the only way to instruct a pension company to divide or transfer a pension
  • Save a significant ££££ sum compared to the same service provided by a high street solicitor
  • Fast and effective service

One Week Fast Track Service

If you urgently need a pension sharing order
£ 798
  • We prepare and draft your pension sharing consent order within seven days of receiving your completed questionnaire
  • A pension sharing order is the only way to instruct a pension company to split a pension
  • Essential if you are close to your final order date and don't want to delay your divorce
  • Fastest service available in the UK

Key Features

  • An experienced and qualified solicitor drafts your consent order and pension sharing order
  • We complete the new 23-page D81 Statement of Information form
  • Our solicitors will file the consent order for you and process it through the court, dealing with any objections should they arise
  • There is no court appearance necessary – we deal with any enquires the court may have
  • We keep you fully updated throughout the process
  • No hidden hourly costs, just one fixed fee of £599
  • Very fast service; your consent order will be ready to file with the court within four weeks of receiving your application. A faster one-week priority service is also available.

What is included with this service

  • Pension sharing
  • The sale or transfer of property
  • Lump sum payments
  • Child and spousal maintenance
  • Splitting savings and debt
  • Clean break agreement – protecting you from future financial claims

This is a fully managed service, our solicitors file the consent order with the courts for you to secure quick approval.

What is not included with this service

  • Help to negotiate your financial agreement
  • Amendments to the order by either party in the event of the case becoming disputed

The court fee for filing a financial order is currently £58.00. 

What happens after I order my pension sharing order

Once you’ve ordered your pension sharing consent order, we will send you an online questionnaire to complete. We will ask for your and your spouse’s current financial positions and the agreement you have reached. We use this information to complete the statement of information and the pension sharing consent order. 

Once complete, we email the documents to you both to sign digitally on your phone or computer before sending the signed copies to the court for approval.

You can only ask the court to approve a consent order if you have started divorce proceedings and the court has agreed that you can get divorced. This is known as being granted a conditional order (or a decree nisi under the old law). The court takes around four weeks to approve a pension-sharing consent order, and it comes into effect once it grants the final order (or decree absolute under the old law), which is a minimum of six weeks after the conditional order.

The ideal situation is to have your pension sharing consent order ready for signing once you have your conditional order or decree nisi so that your finances and divorce conclude in the same timeframe.

Next Steps

Read enough and want to get started? Just click on the button below. Once you have purchased your pension sharing consent order, you will receive an email from us with the questionnaire. Fill this in, and we will take care of the rest.

Pension Sharing Consent Order – Frequently Asked Questions

What is a pension sharing order? 

A pension sharing order allows a couple to share pensions in the same way that they can split other assets such as houses and savings. The receiving party can become a member of the pension scheme or transfer the value to a new pension provider so that they become the legal owner of their share. By sharing the pension, both parties have access to financial resources for their future while achieving a financial clean break from each other.

Can I share my pension without a pension sharing order?

No, it’s not possible to arrange pension sharing without applying for a pension sharing order. Pension providers or pension schemes cannot transfer any pension without instruction from the court. This doesn’t mean you have to go to court – we deal with the courts on your behalf.

Do I get a pension sharing consent order automatically with my divorce?

No, you need to make a separate application for a pension-sharing consent order. It is possible to get a divorce without a pension-sharing consent order, though this isn’t recommended because it leaves your finances without legally defined ownership.

Unless you buy a specific package that includes a divorce with a pension-sharing consent order, a consent order is never included in a fixed-fee divorce, it’s a separate service.

Is pension sharing compulsory?

Pension sharing is optional, and due to a lack of awareness, many divorcing couples leave pensions out when they decide how to divide their money and property, which can be a huge mistake. 

Research of 30,000 divorcing couples by the University of Manchester showed one partner has more than 90% of pension wealth in half of the couples studied. And fewer than 15% of couples have equal pensions.

Pensions have a considerable impact on people’s finances in later life, so it’s very important to ensure that you have adequate pension provision in place and consider pension when deciding on how you will split assets with your spouse.

Are there any alternatives to a pension sharing?

Yes, there are two alternatives to a pension-sharing order:

Offsetting. This is where the value of the pension is offset against other assets. For example, one spouse keeps their entire pension while the other gets alternative assets of equal value (e.g. property or cash).

Pensions form part of the overall ‘matrimonial pot’, alongside other assets such as property, savings and other valuables. Whether it is the right choice to share pensions will depend on your circumstances.

Is a pension sharing order the right choice for me?

A pension-sharing order might be a good choice if you are close to retirement age and you have very little in your pension pot.

However, pension sharing might lead to you having to share or dispose of other assets, such as the family home. So, a pension-sharing order might not be the best choice if retaining the family home to bring up your children is a priority.

I’m not married or in a civil partnership. Can I apply for a pension sharing order?

In England and Wales, pension sharing can only take place by court order and only upon divorce or dissolution, so it’s available for unmarried couples.

When is the money from a pension sharing order transferred?

A pension sharing order cannot take effect until the divorce or dissolution procedure is finalised, and your final order (previously known as the decree absolute) is granted.

Once this happens, the pension provider has four months to implement the pension transfer.

Will the pension provider charge me to transfer my pension?

Fees for implementing a pension sharing order can be significant, and they are usually paid by the person sharing their pension funds. There is an option on the pension sharing order to split the costs between both parties.

The pension provider should contact you with more information on the charges associated with pension transfer within 21 days of receiving the pension sharing order.

When should I apply for pension sharing consent order?

You can only apply to the court to approve a pension-sharing consent order once you have started your divorce and reached the conditional order stage. Financial disclosure from you and your former spouse is needed to start the pension-sharing consent order process. It takes three to four weeks to draft your pension-sharing consent order for submission to the court. Ideally, you want to start the pension sharing consent order process at least six weeks before your conditional order date to ensure that all documents are ready for signing so they can be submitted to the court when you receive your conditional order.

Can I get a pension sharing consent order without being divorced?

No, you can’t. To get a pension sharing consent order, you must have at least been given permission to divorce. This is known as a conditional order or a decree nisi under the old law. To get permission to divorce, you must have started divorce proceedings.

Do we have to provide financial disclosure of assets that we aren’t splitting?

Yes, you do. A document known as a D81 Statement of Information must be completed and submitted to the court. This document shows your current financial position, and the court uses this information to decide if a consent order is fair.

The information needed is:

  • Total equity held in properties
  • Total savings and investments
  • Total liabilities (not mortgage debt)
  • The total value of pensions
  • Monthly income broken down into income from employment, benefits, child maintenance payments, pension or other sources.

The court will not approve a consent order without this information.

You don’t need to provide evidence like bank statements or property valuations, but if the court found that a party had deliberately withheld information, the consent order could be voided, and the perpetrator could face prosecution for fraud.

Can I get a pension sharing consent order without my ex’s agreement?

No, you can’t. You must both agree, and your spouse must provide their financial information. We cannot apply for a pension sharing consent order if your spouse is unwilling to provide financial disclosure or if they disagree with the financial settlement proposed.

How long does it take for a pension sharing consent order to be approved?

Once you’ve both signed the statement of information and consent order and you have your conditional order, we can submit the consent order to the court for approval. An Easy Online Divorce drafted and submitted consent order typically takes around four weeks to approve.

How much does a pension sharing consent order cost?

The court fee for submitting a consent order is £58. However, you will need a solicitor to draft your pension sharing order, and the cost of this will depend on whether you use Easy Online Divorce or a high street solicitor.

If you’ve called some local solicitors in your area, you’ll know that their costs can vary wildly from £2,000 for a pension sharing consent order to £6,000, which can only be described (politely) as daylight robbery.

The good news is that Easy Online Divorce has transparent fixed prices. Our standard consent order, which includes a clean break, the sale or transfer of property, lump-sum payments, child and spousal maintenance and splitting savings and debt, is £599 including VAT.

Can my ex get part of my pension years after divorce?

Yes, they can, unless you have a consent order approved by the court to make it legally binding. Once approved, a consent order gives you clean break protection to prevent your ex from making future claims against you. If you don’t have a court-approved consent order, they can claim against you at any time in the future.

What is the difference between a pension sharing order and a separation agreement?

A pension sharing consent order is a legally binding agreement approved by a judge. It orders (instructs) the pension scheme to carry out the transfer.

A separation agreement, on the other hand, is drafted by a solicitor and signed by both parties but is not legally binding. A pension provider cannot and will not share pensions from a separation agreement.

A separation agreement can be helpful for some couples, especially those who want help to set boundaries in the early days of separation, but be aware that the separation agreement does not prevent either party from changing their minds. Only a pension sharing consent order sets your agreement in stone and forces a pension scheme to split or transfer a pension.

How do we reach an agreement on our pension sharing consent order?

You can agree on the details of your pension sharing consent order between yourselves through mediation or solicitor-led negotiation. If you can’t agree, you can ask the court to decide for you.

Deciding between yourselves is the least expensive option, but it does require openness and a willingness to cooperate. Meditation is a very effective way to reach an agreement for couples having difficulties. Although mediation is likely to cost somewhere in the region of £500, it is still less expensive than using a solicitor or going to court.

In some situations, a solicitor or court is needed. However, be aware that a court will expect you to have at least tried mediation. Solicitors are very useful in some situations but be mindful that their business model is to charge by the minute, usually in 15-minute blocks – this means there is a natural conflict of interest between making money for the firm and resolving issues quickly. 

If you do have to go down a solicitor route, make sure that you are clear on what you want your outcome to be. If that is to resolve your divorce and finances quickly and as smoothly as possible, be cautious if your solicitor displays an overly aggressive approach to negotiation.

Does who was to blame for the divorce impact our financial agreement?

Except in rare circumstances, such as murder or gambling addiction, who was to blame for its breakdown does not affect the division of assets. Divorce and financial orders are two separate cases. And now, with the new no-fault divorce law, neither party has to blame the other. Instead, a statement is made that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

What is a Form A and Form A1?

One of the most confusing parts when applying for a no-fault divorce yourself is the page where it asks if you want a financial order. Titled ‘How to apply for a financial order’, it says you need to complete another form (Form A or Form A1) and pay the additional fee. This is misleading. A Form A (notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order) is for a couple in agreement, but if you are using an online service such as Easy Online Divorce that files directly into the court department’s systems, you don’t need to complete a Form A.

Similarly, if you have a contested financial agreement, you need to complete a Form A1 (notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial remedy), but again, if you have to go down this route, you will need a solicitor to help you, and they will complete the form A1 for you.

Will the court always agree with our pension sharing consent order?

No, the court doesn’t blindly approve pension sharing orders, and they can question the fairness of your agreement. The consent order process is voluntary between a couple, so the court won’t force you to do something if they disagree with your order. But they will ask questions or ask you to consider certain agreements to ensure that a person in a weaker position is fully aware of the implications of the order.

We hope our FAQ has answered all your questions about consent orders. If you have a question we haven’t covered or need further clarity, please email us or book a call back here.

If you are ready to proceed, you can order your consent order by clicking the button below.

Order your pension sharing consent here

Pension Sharing Consent Order

If you have pensions to split
£ 599
  • All of the benefits of our financial consent order plus pension sharing order
  • A pension sharing order is the only way to instruct a pension company to divide or transfer a pension
  • Save a significant ££££ sum compared to the same service provided by a high street solicitor
  • Fast and effective service

One Week Fast Track Service

If you urgently need a pension sharing order
£ 798
  • We prepare and draft your pension sharing consent order within seven days of receiving your completed questionnaire
  • A pension sharing order is the only way to instruct a pension company to split a pension
  • Essential if you are close to your final order date and don't want to delay your divorce
  • Fastest service available in the UK