Pensions & divorce

Pensions constitute a special subject in divorce. What happens to your pension after your divorce? Do you retain the right to your own pension, or do you have to share this with your ex-partner? Can you make agreements yourself? GMW lawyers can answer these questions.

How is a pension divided?

In principle each partner has a right to half of the pension that was built up during their marriage if they divorce . The standard arrangement is that the pension insurer directly pays the other party what they are entitled to at the age of retirement. Different agreements can be made on the basis of mutual consultation. However, it is also possible to opt for conversion (division into two separate parts).

Does the right to pension for survivors continue to exist after divorce?

The pension for survivors is usually non-contributory, so that when one partner dies, the other receives a special survivor pension. If this was built up on the basis of risk, there is no right to a special survivor’s pension after a divorce. Not only does the alimony lapse in the case of death, but there is no right to a survivor’s pension either.

Exceptional situations

There are special rules for entrepreneurs who have built up a pension under their own management. In that case a dispute may arise with the other party about the obligation to wholly or partly pay the pension to a bank or insurance company because there in insufficient liquidity or the company would be jeopardised if the money were removed from the business. There are also often special rules for internationals. Foreign insurance companies are not bound by Dutch law. This means that they are not obliged to pay the partner of the party entitled to the pension directly.

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