Young couple discussing.

Pension splitting – how do we come to an agreement?

In voluntary pension splitting, the pension entitlements of one spouse are split between the two spouses. The idea is to balance out the financial loss that results from time spent raising children. It’s mostly women who benefit from this partnership-based solution. What do you do, though, if you can’t agree on it as a couple?

We asked Bettina Zehetner about it. She often gives talks on the topic in her family and women’s counselling centre. “The goal of pension splitting is to divide the pension entitlements of the two partners equally in the event of a divorce, with the aim of ensuring each party has a reasonable income after the divorce and nobody is at a financial disadvantage.”

If you get on well, you may not even talk about the topic, but it is advisable to do so because you never know what the future of a marriage holds. “Lots of men don’t really want women to be financially independent if they separate, so they may argue against pension splitting.”

Convincing arguments are therefore needed for different cases. One option would be telling the partner that they will have it easier in the event of a divorce, because their maintenance payments would be lower as a result of the higher pension.

Another somewhat more radical idea the counsellor has is to “suggest that your partner take the parental leave instead, then it turns the tables.”

It can be sensible to list all of the activities related to the household and the children and allocate them an hourly rate. “This makes the workload more transparent and the reason why the pension should be shared becomes more obvious.

You can discuss the issue of pension splitting at one of the many Austrian family counselling centres. You are welcome to book a free appointment any time.

Our interview partner

Bettina Zehetner is a psychosocial counsellor and serves on a board of directors, and has worked for the family and women’s counselling centre Frauen* beraten Frauen* for more than 20 years.

Frauen* beraten Frauen*
Seitenstettengasse 5/7
1010 Wien
Website Frauen* beraten Frauen*

The interview was conducted in Mai 2023.

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