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Ten Common Misconceptions about Family Law

Here at SNS, our specialist family law solicitors come across misunderstandings and expectations in our clients that do not correlate to the reality in our family law system.

Sometimes that is good news for our client; sometimes it is not.

Myth no 5: My ex will give me a lump sum so I don’t need to make a claim on their pension

Pensions are often the asset that gets left until the last minute when separating couples think about what to do with their assets. It is understandable – when separating, usually the most pressing question is where to live and how to manage from month to month. An income in retirement can seem a long way off and not a priority.

But the pensions can prove to be the biggest assets. Often one spouse’s pension value is significantly higher than the other spouse’s. And it is also common for the person with the lower pension, to be more concerned with his/her housing, and monthly income, than retirement. An easy way to deal with the pension is often thought to be that the person with the larger pension, simply pays to the other party a cash lump sum to compensate them. But this can lead to great unfairness and avoidable hardship.

Taking the state pension alone – this can pay around £8800 a year once it is in payment. To buy that amount of income as a private pension, it has been calculated that this would cost almost £330,000.

So especially if there are private pensions as well, it is crucial that both parties get their legal (and financial) advice in place. A divorce can be the key opportunity for a person to secure their pension entitlement, (this will depend on various factors including how long a couple have been married, their ages and so on) and walking away with a lump sum is often not reflective of a fair settlement.

There are a variety of options available to make pension division fair.

Only with good legal advice and a careful look at the pension assets, does it become clear what a fair settlement might be. But it is definitely worth finding out.

If you wish to speak with one of our specialist solicitors in confidence please contact us on tel 01622 23 88 50, or by email at If you wish to speak with Tanya or Richard, our family law solicitors, you can email or

Watch this space next week for Myth Number Six.

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