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Pensions on separation and divorce

Pension adjustment orders (PAOs)

The court may serve a binding order, known as a pension adjustment order (PAO), on the trustees or provider of a pension arrangement of which either spouse or civil partner is a member, requiring a proportion of the pension benefits to be paid to the other spouse or civil partner or for the benefit of a dependent member of the family. Separate PAOs are required for each separate private pension arrangement that exists.

An order in relation to retirement benefits may be made at the same time as the granting of the decree of judicial separation or divorce or at any time thereafter during the lifetime of the member spouse/civil partner (including after the payment of pension has begun).

An order in relation to contingent benefits (i.e. benefits payable on the member’s death in service) must be made within 12 months of the granting of the decree of judicial separation or divorce.

If you remarry (or enter into another civil partnership) before a PAO you have applied for is granted, then an order cannot be granted. You may then have no entitlement to benefits from your ex-spouse's/civil partner's pension arrangement.