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What are we each entitled to in our divorce settlement?

What does the law say about how to split the house, how to share pensions and other assets, and how much maintenance is payable.

What steps can we take to reach a fair agreement?

The four basic steps to reaching an agreement on divorce finances are: disclosure, getting advice, negotiating and implementing a Consent Order.

What is a Consent Order and why do we need one?

A Consent Order is a legally binding document that finalises a divorcing couple's agreement on property, pensions and other assets.


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Lump sum regarding benefits.

  • Jane2014
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12 Jan 16 #472141 by Jane2014
Topic started by Jane2014
Please does anyone have any advice they could give me.

I was in a relationship/married for 8 years with no children. I received 20.89% of our total assets at a final hearing. Included in this amount was a lump sum payment of 35k in respect of my pension entitlement accrued.

I am unable to work. Can I invest the 35k as this was for my pension or do I have to use this to support myself and forego my pension in the future.

Thanks

  • Luna Shadow
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12 Jan 16 #472149 by Luna Shadow
Reply from Luna Shadow
If you received a cash lump sum then it will be considered capital for benefits purposes.

You would have needed to get a pension share in order for it to be disregarded for benefits purposes.

For most income based benefits you are ineligible if you have more than £16k and lose a tapered amount between £6k and £16k.

If you are not housed already do you have enough to buy or for shared ownership? The equity in the home you live in is disregarded for benefits.

  • LittleMrMike
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12 Jan 16 #472150 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Interesting ! Normally the rule is that capital in excess of 6K ( don''t know whether this figure is still valid ) would reduce means tested benefits ( such as income support ) or reduce them.

Spending capital is all right provided it is done with some legitimate purposes, for example to pay off debts, to buy essential furniture, and so on. You could go on a modest holiday but not a world cruise. And that sort of thing.

There are special rules regarding houses.

But pensions - not come across t his one before. I''d advise an appointment with a CAB. However, I do believe that in circumstances the value of occupational pensions can be disregarded.

I honestly don''t know. It''s well beyond the competence of your average CAB adviser. But they do have a specialist unit to deal with more complicated queries.

LMM

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12 Jan 16 #472151 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
Sorry, correction. `in the first paragraph the last three words should read '' or cancel them out altogether ''.

LMM

  • Jane2014
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12 Jan 16 #472175 by Jane2014
Reply from Jane2014
Thanks I will try the CAB although I always seem to ask questions which are too complex!
My ex had enough assets to pay me a lump sum and his pension of 550k was not touched.
As my barrister was aware I could not work why would she have believed it to be fair that the pension I received would be spent on supporting myself now rather than at pensionable age?

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13 Jan 16 #472193 by Luna Shadow
Reply from Luna Shadow
I imagine your barrister would not have considered the benefits position, may not even have had much, if any, knowledge of it.

Unfortunately the rules for spending capital are open to interpretation - for example paying off a debt before it is due, for example a mortgage, is not normally allowed, however there have been cases where this has been overruled by a judge in a specific circumstance, for example where the party is approaching retirement and used their redundancy to clear the mortgage.

If you have the means to support yourself for a reasonable period - several years, say - it probably would be OK to put in the maximum pension contribution of £2,880 per year (which will be grossed up to £3,600 per year by HMRC) on the basis that you are trying to make provision for your retirement. However it is only the decision maker when you finally do claim benefits who would rule whether, retrospectively, you were allowed to do that. Also be aware that the council (for housing benefit/council tax support) may even have a different opinion from the DWP.

You say you cannot work. Are you claiming all of the non-means tested benefits, e.g. PIP that you can? Also contributions based ESA if you were working previously.

I just also wanted to say I have huge sympathy for your situation, I''ve read your previous posts and am at a loss to understand why you have been failed so badly by the legal system.

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13 Jan 16 #472217 by Jane2014
Reply from Jane2014
Thank you for your support.

I won my benefits appeal last Monday and am now in receipt of contribution based ESA. I am in the support group for 12 months due to the seriousness of my trauma.

At the final hearing my Barrister would not give me any details as to how the 35k was made up or if this would meet my needs for an income and pension as I cannot work. I did not think this would cover my needs and as she would not confirm how it would, I became very distressed and this is when she forced me to sign the Consent Order. I have read the Matrimonial Causes Act and to be quite honest do not think it was taken into account. She also said no Judge takes any notice of the Matrimonial Causes Act which confused me. Is it possible she just thought 35k would suffice not taking into account anything else. I have asked my Barrister for a breakdown as to do by a solicitor and she has refused to give me one.

I do understand the relationship/marriage was only 8 years and therefore only entitled to a proportion of the 560k pension, but I cannot work out how 35k represents an income and my entitlement.

My condition means I have to understand things in order to feel safe and that is why I need to find out about my pension in order to deal with it correctly and lawfully.

On another point is it possible to get a transcript of a court hearing as the Judge at the second final hearing totally blamed my barrister hence I received 5k costs. He also blamed me for not standing up to her!

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