Pensions Advisory Group tackles legal issues regarding pensions and divorce

Published: 26th April 2018

The Pensions Advisory Group has published two reports based on the legal issues of pensions in divorce cases, following a ‘Pensions of Divorce’ study which was funded by the Nuffield Foundationand backed by the Cardiff University School of Law and Politics.

The Pensions Advisory Group is made up of family and pension lawyers, judges, mediators and academics who have been given the responsibility of producing a good practice guide to pensions on divorce that will be used by both professionals and members of the public. This good practice guide is targeted more at ‘everyday’ cases, with the aim of improving the understanding of the subject, but also to increase consistency and fairness throughout the field.

Findings from the Report

The Pensions on Divorce studyfound that practitioners have a significant lack of confidence surrounding the subject of pensions on divorce, with concerns about many potentially unfair rulings and alack of disclosure of pensions during divorce proceedings.

A total of 369 court files were included within this study, with just 14% of cases containing a pension order, despite 80% of the 369 cases having at least one relevant pension involved. A big reason for this, according to practitioners, is that pensions are often offset against other assetswithout following correct guidelines regarding their valuation. The guidance that is currently in place is often found to be contradictory and targeted more towards the higher valued cases.

The Aims of the Project

This project is being conducted with the aim of making major improvements to the way pensions in divorce are handled, providing great benefits to separating couples that possess pensions of value, despite them not being considered as especially wealthy. It is the aim of the project to create an interdisciplinary working group, which will be tasked with providing in-depth analysis on the way in which divorce proceedings should handle pensions, with a focus on how pensions are to be valued and the way that they have been offset against other capital assets.

The work of the Pensions Advisory Group is likely to be used as a guide that will assist the higher courts and the Family Justice Council, for use by family practitioners and the courts in England and Wales. The working group is to consist of members of the judiciary, pension experts, barristers and academics with expertise in pensions and financial remedies on divorce, as well as practicing solicitors.

If you are thinking about separation or divorce and are concerned about your financial situation then K J Smith Solicitors can help. Our team of family law specialists have handled financial matters in divorces ranging from the straightforward to the highly complex.

For more information or to arrange a free 45-minute consultation, please contact K J Smith Solicitors today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 020 7070 0330 (London), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), 01256 584000 (Basingstoke) 01483 370100 (Guildford), 01494 629000 (Beaconsfield) or 01235 375500 (Abingdon).

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