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About pension adjustment orders

In judicial separation, divorce, and dissolution proceedings, the court may make various types of financial settlements. Among these is a pension adjustment order.

A pension adjustment order designates a part of the pension for payment to a spouse and dependant children. The judge decides how much of the pension should be designated. The effect of such an order is that the designated part of the pension remains in the pension scheme but is payable to a spouse and children when the other spouse reaches pension age or dies.

Pension adjustment orders are only applicable where the decree for the judicial separation (or foreign divorce) was granted after 1st August 1996 or where an Irish divorce is obtained following the operation of the legislation with effect from 27th February 1997.

Who can apply for a pension adjustment order?

Either spouse (or a person representing a dependent child) may apply to the Court for a pension adjustment order.  The Court will not make either type of order if the spouse who applies has remarried.

Additional information

Where parties are agreed as to the pension adjustment order to be made they should approach the pension trustees and agree the form of the order to be made with the trustees. Thereafter they should bring the agreed draft order with them to the court hearing together with a letter from the trustees indicating their agreement with the form of the draft order.

Visit the Citizen Information website for information on how pensions are assessed during a separation/divorce/dissolution.

Court forms

S.I. No. 510 of 2001, Circuit Court Rules 2001

• Form 37C: Notice to trustees

Relevant legislation

• Family Law Act 1995

• Family Law (Divorce) Act 1996

• Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010

Court rules

• S.I. No. 510 of 2001:Circuit Court Rules, 2001 - Order 59

Order 59 rule 4(7)(a):  A Notice To Trustees to be served on the Trustees of the relevant pension scheme where a pension adjustment order is sought in the proceedings, at the same time as the civil bill is served and an affidavit of service sworn and filed within 14 days of service of the civil bill

Order 59 rule 4(9)(a):  Similar provision where a pension adjustment order is sought by way of counterclaim with the time period reduced to seven days

Order 59 rule 4(10)(a): Application for judgement in default of appearance or defence. Notice of motion to be served on the Trustees in addition to the Respondent (where pension adjustment order is sought).

Order 59 rule 4(10)(g): Where parties agree on the orders to be made and where pension adjustment order is sought, the matter to be brought before the court by way of notice motion to be served also on the Trustees.

Order 59 rule (4)(12) and (4)(13): Service of notice of trial on the trustees.

Order 59 rule 4(38)(4)(b): Where a pension adjustment order is sought by either party the notice to trustees shall be served, the affidavit of service of same shall be filed, and a copy of such notice and affidavit shall be served on the other party, prior to the case progression hearing.



The synopsis of the court rules is provided for guidance purposes only. Parties should look up the particular court rule in each case, particularly in relation to time limits.