DIY Divorce: Don’t forget the Pension!

Planning a DIY Divorce? Learn how to split your pensions fairly by following this essential step!

Divorcing individuals now face a greater risk of having their assets unfairly divided, particularly pensions, thanks to the introduction and popularity of “DIY” divorces, with women being most likely to lose out. Some spouses could even lose out on as much as thousands if pensions aren’t divided fairly during a divorce.

What is a DIY divorce?

Since 2018, it has been possible for divorcing couples to submit their legal divorce paperwork and marital agreement on their own, without the assistance of professional legal representatives. These are referred to as DIY or ‘do-it-yourself’ divorces. In recent years, this type of divorce has become a popular option, especially for couples looking for a quick and civil solution.

Why are Pensions so important?

Pensions are usually the biggest asset for divorcing couples and make up to 42% of total household wealth, according to the Office for National Statistics. The most common way of splitting retirement pots is through a pension sharing order, which divides your pension upon divorce.

Since the introduction of DIY divorces, there has been a decrease in the number of requests for pension sharing orders with only 22% of divorces in England and Wales including an application for a pension sharing order in the first three quarters of 2022, compared to 33% in 2017.

Ensuring that pensions are split fairly in divorces is of great concern as statistically, men benefit most, leaving the partner with the smaller pension pot behind. The divide between women’s and men’s pensions is stark, with women on average having around 26% less saved in their pensions than their male counterparts.

So, what can you do about it?

During a DIY divorce, it is very possible for a divorcee to overlook pensions as they can often appear intimidating and overly complex for people, but it is crucial to anyone seeking a fair split of financials to consider pensions during the divorce.

Pension sharing orders are significant because they require the spouse with the most pension savings to contribute part of their pension pot to their ex-partner. For one of the divorcing couples, skipping this crucial step could be financially disastrous.

Divorces can be devastating to your mental and financial health. That is why, early in the divorce process, consulting with a solicitor is critical to ensuring that all financially related assets are divided equally and fairly. We would always advise that no matter how simple the financial split a Consent Order is entered into and approved by the court to avoid the risk of your former spouse changing their mind and making a financial claim in the future.

If you want to learn more or have any questions about your own Pension sharing order, please contact us at 020 8891 4311 or email us at to schedule a free non-committal initial consultation.

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David Thorley


David works on civil litigation with a particular interest in disputes arising from wills, probate and trusts. Beyond this, he has experience with claims in a range of fields including: employment; property/landlord and tenant; company law/insolvency; construction; and debt recovery.

David qualified as a solicitor in 2022 having previously worked in academia and journalism. This background has given him a clear-sighted perspective on the cases he handles, a ready appreciation of the complex issues at stake, and a pragmatic approach to advising clients.

Chris Wright


Chris initially qualified and practiced at the Bar for several years before going into industry with two major UK construction and engineering companies. He left this position to become a senior partner at a law firm where he handled a range of domestic and international construction and engineering law matters. He was an Adjudicator on the TeCSA panel, and acted as a reviewer for the FIDIC White Book Conditions. He has contributed to a text book on BIM and Quantity Surveying. 

Chris remains a member of the Society of Construction Law where he brings his experience as a consultant on construction law matters. He is also a practising Mediator and Arbitrator, being both an FCIArb and an Associate of the Civil Mediation Council.

Peter Arnstein


Peter qualified as a solicitor following his training with a firm on Richmond Green and has since worked with firms on both sides of the river. Initially specialising in criminal law and dispute resolution, he later brought the forensic skills he had acquired to residential and commercial conveyancing, Wills and Probate. His approach in acting for clients has always been to look for problems and offer solutions.  

Peter is delighted to have now joined Baron Grey where he continues to look after clients old and new, seeking to provide an approachable and professional service to all.

Contact Us

Feel free to get in touch with us via phone or email, or complete the form and one of our solicitors will be delighted to call you back.

James Atkins

Associate Solicitor

James is a private client solicitor specialising in wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate administration. He graduated from the University of Glasgow with a degree in English Literature in 2013 and went on to complete his law conversion course at BPP University. 

James trained at Baron Grey and after a sabbatical in Russia has recently re-joined the firm. James has a very friendly and approachable manner and is an asset to Baron Grey.

Lara Symons


Lara Symons qualified as a solicitor in 1997 and has specialised in all aspects of Immigration Law since then. Lara was formally the head of the Immigration Appeals Team at White Ryland Solicitors in Shepherds Bush, before moving to Spain for four years with her family.

Lara joined Baron Grey in 2013 and now works for the firm dealing with a wide range of immigration and probate matters.

Minnie Waite


Minnie Waite joined Baron Grey in 2017 as a conveyancer having worked in the City for many years.

She has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with all aspects of conveyancing transactions and has studied the License Conveyancing course. Minnie specialises in freehold/leasehold, enfranchisement, has some commercial experience and advises on mortgages.

She is extremely approachable and friendly and a great addition to the Baron Grey team.

Ben Hall

Solicitor Advocate

Ben Hall is an experienced solicitor who re-joined Baron Grey solicitors in early 2018, having originally trained under Vincent in 2006.

Ben specialises in criminal defence work and regularly represents clients from the investigatory stage all the way through to the Crown Court and Court of Appeal, where he has had notable success.

Ben has expanded his practice into civil litigation with a particular emphasis on commercial and probate disputes.

Emma Faulkner


After being awarded a 2:1 degree in Law from the University of Reading, Emma joined Baron Grey in 2012. Since then, she has successfully completed the Legal Practice Course part-time obtaining a Distinction, and qualifying as a solicitor in February 2016.

Emma assists the litigation team and specialises in Family Law, including divorce and financial proceedings. Emma also deals with the niche area of Private Client Law concerning Lasting Powers of Attorney. She follows the footsteps of her grandfather who worked for Baron Grey as a senior legal assistant.

Vincent Hambleton-Grey


After graduating in Law in London, Vincent joined the firm in 1990 as a newly qualified solicitor. He specialises in litigation and company commercial work as well as employment and matrimonial matters. 

He is passionate about representing those who do not always have a fair voice in the community and his clients vary from local people to many small businesses in the area. Whenever possible, Vincent’s aim is always to meet and discuss matters with all new clients personally first. 

Born in Swansea, South Wales, he moved to London as an undergraduate and has lived in Twickenham since 1994. He is married with two daughters.