Armed forces pensions and Divorce

Armed forces pensions and divorce


Sadly,the divorce rate for those enlisted in the armed forces is now double that of civilian couples. Many factors could influence this, such as long and multiple tours of duty, an increased workload and poor married quarters.

When dealing with the finances of a divorce, a pension is often the most sizable asset after the family home.

Each member of the armed forces in entitled to an Armed Forces Pension upon retirement if they serve a minimum of two years. As of April 2013 there were 176,660 regular personnel in the British Armed Forces.

There are over half a million individuals receiving Armed Forces Pension Scheme payments today including war pensioners and veterans.

Earlier this year the government announced important changes to the Armed Forces and in particular its reserve element. There are currently 28,670 part time voluntary reservists. From 1 April 2015 every member of our reserve armed forces will be entitled to “opt-in” to an armed forces pension scheme irrespective of whether they are actually mobilised. The government envisages that by 2018 the strength of the British military will be 82,000 regulars and 30,000 reservists – each could qualify for a sizeable pension.

The courts have various options to take account of pension assets in divorce or dissolution settlements:

No Order: sometimes no settlement is required to create a clean break – particularly where both parties have their own pension

Attachment Orders: where the spouse or civil partner receives payments from the pension either as a lump sum or periodically

Pension Sharing Order: where part of the value of the pension is transferred so that the other party becomes a member of the  pension scheme in their own right.

Offsetting: the reallocation of other property or assets – the value of the pension can be “offset” against other assets such a bank accounts and property

There are many things that need to be taken in to account when considering which option is most suitable, including other assets which may be in dispute. At Bhatia Best we have several lawyers on hand with many years of experience dealing with Armed Forces pensions who can advise on the options available. Contact us now for further advice:

Nottingham 0115 9503231

Derby 01332 203000