You may be representing yourself in a divorce, and think you need the input of an actuary, below is a list of frequently asked questions for you to explore. If you are represented, you may wish to discuss these further with your solicitor.

It is important to remember that regulation around our role requires us to remain impartial and primarily all communication for a case should be via email with both parties copied in. (See our FAQ – “why can’t I speak to you on the phone”.)

Why might I need a Pension on Divorce Report?

Within a divorce settlement, pensions can be a sizeable asset. With the various types of pensions that exist and the ever-changing laws that governs these, it can be difficult to understand the benefits to which you may be entitled, and how these should be considered in the context of a divorce.  

Mathieson Consulting, has been producing Expert Witness reports since 2007. We take pride in our ability to provide clear and understandable reports, which are tailored to the specifics of each set of circumstances by our highly qualified team of report writers.

I need a report and I’m representing myself, what do I need to do?

People who are handling their divorce without a solicitor are sometimes referred to as Litigants in Person. If you are a LIP or, your solicitor has asked you to get a Report and you are not quite sure why, there are useful guides about Pensions on Divorce available. We would suggest reading Survival guide to Pensions on Divorce. There is also a more comprehensive guide as mentioned earlier: the PAG Report.

What are the timescales for your reports

At present we aim to provide our reports within around 6 weeks of taking receipt of all necessary information. However, we are regularly issuing reports in less than 6 weeks, and the key to a speedy response is the quality / completeness of the documentation received at the point of being instructed and the prompt return of signed letters of authority.

Where we do need to approach the various pension schemes for more information about an individual’s benefits, we are increasingly experiencing significant delays when waiting for their supply of information. Therefore, the provision of up to date and accurate pension information at outset, or the subsequent acquisition of such data from online scheme portals and other such sources, will help us report to you in a timely fashion by removing / reducing the need to correspond with third party scheme administrators.

How much do your reports cost?

Our fee to produce an Expert Witness Report is likely to be in the range £1,900–£3,500 plus VAT, depending on the number of calculations required and the complexity of the requirements of the Letter of Instruction. The final fee will be confirmed upon receipt of the letter of instruction. You can ask for a more specific quote by putting a request through our “Quote request” form


If you are representing yourself then you will be required to sign our Terms of Engagement and pay the full agreed fee on account before we commence any work. If you will be represented by a solicitor then you will need to discuss payment of our fee with them as they will be required to sign our Terms of Engagement. Our bank details will be on the bottom of our invoices.

Why are you not FCA regulated?

We are not on the FCA register because we are not Financial Advisers: nothing in our reports is reflective of financial advice to you, and you must seek advice of this sort from those qualified to provide it. Instead, we are expert witnesses that produce reports for Courts in divorce proceedings, and Mathieson Consulting is a corporate member of the Expert Witness Institute.

However, Mathieson Consulting is part of RBC Brewin Dolphin, who have a number of highly-experienced financial planners able to support you and have the necessary authorisations. If you have a need for financial advice, we would be happy to refer you the relevant contact at RBC Brewin Dolphin, simply submit an enquiry at the bottom of the page.

Why can’t we speak to you on the phone?

We are bound by what are known as “Part 25 procedure rules” which are defined in the Family Procedure Rules (2010). Where we are jointly instructed (i.e. on behalf of both  sides) to produce expert evidence, it is required of us to be impartial and unbiased.

You are able to submit questions through your solicitors, or where you are representing yourselves, you may email any queries to us.

All emails must be sent copying in the relevant parties to ensure there is a copy of all communication. If we were to discuss matters on the phone with a single party, we would be compromising our ability to be impartial while writing the report.

How do I get you to write a report?

We are bound by what is known as “Part 25 of the Family Procedure Rules [2010]” (PAG report link).  Where we are jointly instructed (i.e. on behalf of both parties) to produce expert evidence, it is a requirement that there are no communications with one party only. All communication (written or verbal) must include both parties. The easiest way to satisfy this requirement is for all communication to be in written format with the ‘other party’ being copied into the communication. 

All emails must be sent copying in the relevant parties to ensure there is a copy of all communication. If we were to discuss matters on the phone with a single party, we would be compromising our ability to be impartial while writing the report.

Can people’s state of health or any medical conditions impact on your calculations?

Your health can affect your life expectancy, and in turn the pension benefits you may receive, so it may ultimately affect the calculations that we might perform. We have dealt with health issues in the past and do have a process for this which is explained in the following flyer.

Lots of terms are banded about re pensions—DB / DC / Final Salary / CARE / money purchase—what do these all mean?

These are examples of the different types of pension that you might hold, and these can have multiple slightly confusing names.

A Defined Benefit (DB) scheme is a workplace pension run by your employer, in which you build up an explicit pension promise to be paid in retirement. These benefits can accumulate either on a Final Salary or Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) basis. Final Salary pensions are (as the name suggests) based on the salary at retirement, and Career Average schemes base what is payable in retirement on the average salary you earned over your working lifetime, albeit with allowance for price inflation over time. Your scheme can tell you more about what category of pension you hold, and if you’re not sure it’s best to contact your pension provider directly.

A Defined Contribution scheme – can also be known as a Money Purchase scheme – is in effect a pension “pot” in your own name, and the value of this is based on the amount you have paid into it, how the funds are invested, and how these investments have performed.  Other than for a handful of very old arrangements that date back to the 1980s / 90s, there are no benefit promises made i.e. the scheme does not promise you any particular level of income in retirement.

CETV costs money – should I request it up front?

For defined benefit (DB) pensions, you will be entitled to one free CEV in a 12 month period, unless you are retired and under such circumstances the scheme may make a charge for this. Most defined contribution (DC) schemes have online portals where you can print off a valuation free of charge. We recommend that all free CEVs should be requested, and for ones where a charge will be levied we can let you know whether such information is needed.  We won’t request such CEVs unless necessary as we try to avoid incurring costs for you where these can be avoided.

We’ve got the CEV of the pension: why would we need anything else?  

We do require the Cash Equivalent Values (CEVs) of your pensions however, it is not the extent of the information that we would need to consider in order to provide you with an Expert Witness Report.

We would also need to know for each pension what kind of scheme it is, the details of your actual pension entitlement in the scheme, when it might come into payment and how it might revalue during the time before and after your retirement. Where we are asked to exclude benefits accrued outside the period of the relationship, we will also need details of service dates and/or contributions made to the scheme.

It’s important to include information on any Lifetime Allowance Protection you hold, or if you have exceeded your Annual Allowance and have “scheme pays” debits applied to your benefits we would need to know this too. In these two examples it is likely that you would be aware of this and providing this information up-front could help speed up our information collation stage.

I want to include my State Pension

If you want to include your State Pension in the calculations, both parties will need to provide a State Pension forecast.

An instantaneous forecast can be obtained by logging onto the below link “Check State Pension.” If this link is used, please ensure all relevant pages are screen-printed and note the date the forecast was carried out. If you do not have access to request this online, it can be obtained by completing and forwarding form BR19 to the DWP.

If the State Pension for either party was in payment prior to 6 April 2016, a BR20 form will need to be completed and forwarded to the DWP to request the information.

How can I help speed up the process?

We always ask for a Letter of Authority (LOA) and it’s imperative that all the information on our templates are completed.

If you have changed your name, or moved house you need to ensure that you have updated your details with your pension schemes. If information is missing from the authority or it does not match their system, they will refuse to communicate with us, which will delay our process.  It is also important to date any LOA, as administrators will typically accept these only for 6/12 months from date of signing, and will reject undated ones.

If you have any LTA protection, we would need to see your Certificate provided to you by HMRC. It can help to supply this with your letter of instruction.

We want a report. What do we need to do next?

We would need to be provided with a Letter of Instruction (LOI). If you or your ex-spouse are represented, then the solicitor may be able to guide you with this. If not, you will need to review the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce (PAG report).

You will need to consider the questions you are intending to ask us, and what calculations you want us to undertake. This is not something which we can help or give advice on, but the number of questions that we are required to undertake will have an impact on the cost for us to produce the report.

To get a better idea of how this can impact, you can use our quote request form at the initial stages of your enquiry.

Once we have received your Letter of Instruction we will provide our Terms of Engagement and provide you with details of the additional information we are likely to require in order to provide our Report. Our Engagement letter will also confirm the fee and an estimate of the timeframes.

Can I see the CVs of your report writers?

All of our report writers’ CVs are available through individual links on our “Team” page, however you can download in full here.

Ask the experts

    Alternatively, you can request a quote directly