From April 2016 a new state pension system is to be introduced. There are a number of changes in relation which are worth noting in the context of separation and divorce.
Under the current rules you need to have 30 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions to be eligible for the full state pension. From 6 April you will need 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions to receive full pension.
Further, currently you can substitute the National Insurance record of your ex-spouse with your own if that achieves a better result. From 2016 that will no longer be the case.
This will mean that where one party has not worked during the marriage, possibly to care for children, they may find themselves unable to claim a full state pension on retirement whereas prior to 2016 they could have done so.
State pension entitlement should be reviewed as part of any financial settlement on divorce. Presently it is possible for there to be a pension sharing order in relation to one party’s additional state pension. However after 2016 it will not be possible to share a state pension and any inequality will need to be addressed in another way perhaps by offsetting or a pension share in respect of a private pension.
Separate to this changes to the age at which you can take your state pension must be considered, particularly when drafting maintenance clauses.