Armed Forces Pensions on Divorce - Family Law Partners

Armed Forces pensions

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Armed Forces pensions

Hazel Manktelow and Emily Pain are our leading family law solicitors who specialise in military pensions. They advise clients on military pensions on divorce, which requires specialist legal advice and can also require specialist financial advice to ensure the pension is protected and the benefits it provides maximised.

Armed forces pensions (held by Veterans UK) include all military pensions for those serving in the army, navy and RAF.

Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) pensions are different in structure to most employer and personal pension schemes. Armed forces pensions can have a significant value, particularly if the serving member has reached a senior rank/commanding officer level.

They require careful consideration to protect the benefits and share in a fair way upon divorce. When dealing with pensions on divorce we will often look at making a pension sharing order. A pension sharing order means that a percentage of the pension is transferred to the non owning spouse’s name and is paid to them when they reach normal retirement age. It provides a clean break between the parties by splitting the pension immediately.

Dealing with military pensions on divorce requires specialist legal advice and can also require specialist financial advice to ensure the pension is protected and the benefits it provides maximised.

If you would like an appointment with one of our specialists in Brighton, London, Horsham, Kent, Essex, North Hampshire & Surrey or South/Mid Hampshire then please contact us on 0330 055 2234.

If you have served in the army, you will have accrued a pension. If you find yourself divorcing, you will want to know how you can protect your share of the pensions and any lump sum due to you.  Making a pension sharing order of an army pension is not always the best option if neither of you are close to retirement age. This is particularly the case if you are due to shortly leave the army due to length of service and will soon be able to take your early departure payments. You may find some of the pension cannot be accessed until your spouse retires if the pension is shared under a court order.


We can offer specialist advice in this area and consider possible ways to protect and maximise the pension funds available upon divorce.

Often upon separation where one party has served in the navy or other armed force the two most valuable assets are the pension and the equity in the home. The pension can have a significant value particular if the holder is a senior officer. If there are children, the person with care of the children may feel it is a priority to retain the home.

In this situation we may look at offsetting some or all of the pension against the equity in the home. This means one will retain more of the equity to enable them to provide a home for the children and the other will retain all or most of the pension. Offsetting the assets in this way means that the division upon the divorce meets the most pressing needs of the family.

Valuing armed forces pensions may seem straight forward as the AFPS will provide the transfer value. The transfer value is what we consider when looking at pensions on divorce. However, RAF and other armed forces pensions may require an actuary or an independent financial adviser who specialises in pension to look at the value of all the benefits under the pension and whether this is reflected in the transfer value provided by the AFPS. An actuary or some pension financial advisers can advise on the impact of dividing the pension and the benefits each party will receive upon retirement.

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