OLS Solicitors Blog

The Impact of New Divorce Laws and Online Systems on Financial Orders and Pensions

By Mark Keenan on April 15, 2024

diy divorce affecting pensions


In April 2022, England and Wales introduced a significant reform to their divorce laws, known as the ‘no-fault’ divorce system. This change allows spouses to dissolve their marriage without assigning blame, aiming to simplify and expedite the process. Alongside this, there has been a move towards handling financial remedy applications through online systems. This article explores how these changes might be influencing the frequency and nature of financial orders, particularly concerning pensions, and what this could mean for consumers.


Reduction in Financial Orders

Under the new system, the divorce process can be completed in as little as six months, with much of the proceedings handled online. This streamlined approach is designed for efficiency and reduced conflict. However, there are emerging concerns that this speed and ease might lead individuals to bypass comprehensive financial negotiations, particularly concerning pensions.


Pensions are often one of the largest assets discussed during a divorce, especially for long-term marriages. They are crucial for future financial stability, yet they are complex and require careful consideration to divide fairly. The rapid online process might lead to an under-exploration of pension sharing options, risking significant financial disparities post-divorce, particularly affecting women who have traditionally been disadvantaged in pension accumulations.


Impact on Pensions

The streamlined divorce process, combined with the shift towards online financial remedies, could potentially exacerbate existing issues in pension sharing during divorces. Data indicates that only about one-third of divorces result in a financial order involving property and finances, with even fewer addressing pensions. This is concerning because inadequate attention to pension sharing could increase the already significant gender pension gap, leaving more individuals, particularly women, financially vulnerable in retirement.


The new online systems, while efficient, might not adequately prompt parties to consider complex assets like pensions. There’s a risk that the digital process oversimplifies or omits critical steps needed for fair pension evaluation and division. The emphasis on a quick resolution may inadvertently lead to decisions that prioritize immediate outcomes over long-term fairness and adequacy of pension distribution.


 Implications for Consumers

For consumers, particularly those nearing retirement, the implications of overlooked or rushed pension arrangements in divorce can be profound. Inadequate pension sharing can result in insufficient retirement funds and a lowered quality of life in later years. Furthermore, the potential for financial disputes and legal challenges may increase if one party feels the pension division was unjust or inadequately considered.



Increased Awareness and Education: There needs to be greater awareness about the importance of addressing pensions during the divorce process. Educational resources should be made readily available to both parties in a divorce, explaining the long-term benefits and necessities of fair pension sharing.

Improvements in Online Systems: Online platforms for divorce and financial settlements should include mandatory checks and balances that ensure pensions are considered. These systems could feature prompts or reminders about pension assets or even require a consultation with a financial advisor before finalizing the divorce decree.

Monitoring and Research: It’s crucial to monitor how the new divorce laws and online systems affect pension sharing outcomes. This research can inform further improvements in policy and practice, ensuring that divorces lead to equitable financial resolutions.


While the new ‘no-fault’ divorce laws and online systems in England and Wales offer a promise of simplicity and reduced acrimony, there is a critical need to ensure they do not overlook the complex and significant matter of pension sharing. Without proper attention to this aspect, the laws could inadvertently perpetuate or exacerbate financial inequalities, especially among older divorcees. As such, continuous evaluation and adaptation of these systems are essential to safeguard all parties’ financial futures post-divorce.




Request A Free Callback

    Your Name *

    Your Number

    Enquiry subject *


    • Mark Keenan

      Mark is the founder and Chief Executive of OLS Group. He began his career as a Legal Executive in family law at several law firms before launching Divorce-Online in May 2000. Since then, the firm has grown into one of the largest divorce services in the UK, specialising in cases where there is agreement. Recognising the need to broaden the scope of services to help people who cannot reach agreement or where there are complicated issues that require legal representation, Mark led the acquisition of OLS Solicitors in 2017. He invested heavily in people, technology and culture, bringing the 21st century to the family law firm and creating a first-class service that clients love. As the head of the firm, Mark is responsible for its overall strategy. In his free time, Mark enjoys spending quality time with his family, taking his dog on walks, and playing golf whenever he gets the chance.

    Home » divorce advice » The Impact of New Divorce Laws and Online Systems on Financial Orders and Pensions
    Ask Us A Question