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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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Is Pension Sharing Enforceable in Court ?

  • Exasperated
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14 Mar 08 #16742 by Exasperated
Topic started by Exasperated
I have a good company pension which while we were married and together amounted to 21 years. Currently circa £120k CETV and I hear the debate regarding full or 25% of it's value. My wife has none to speak of.
I have offered her half of this in the hope of releasing more of the equity (50/50) in our house (in joint names) which incidentally she wants to sell now.
She does not want anything to do with my pension, wanting instead firstly to have all of the equity (180k) then only recently conceeding to wanting 85% (153k).
Thing is she is taking me to court as she does not want my pension.
How will a Judge view this?

  • Fiona
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14 Mar 08 #16817 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
pension sharing may be ordered, but the crux here is both your mortgage raising capabilities. After a long marriage if your wife is unable to raise the same finance she might require more liquid capital to leave her in the same position as you.

  • Elizabeth
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15 Mar 08 #16827 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Hello,

If your wife is ok to sell the house and has enough equity with her half to re-house herself (the consideration will be her mortgage capacity) then there seems little reason for you not to share your pension and share the equity 50/50, the judge will look at the housing needs of both parties (are there children to be re-housed/taken care of?).

My ex refused to part with any of his pension and still wanted half the equity so I see you are being fair offering to share yours! The difference with me was that I wanted to stay in the home as I have the youngest child who lives with me and they desperately didn't want to lose their home.

The judge ordered that my ex DID share his pension and the equity was split almost 50/50 I had a small percentage more as my earning capacity was less than his and I could not raise a mortgage for the amount he could.

Try and avoid the court route - you will be told this time and time again - it's wise advice.

Would like to hear how you get on....

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18 Mar 08 #17092 by Exasperated
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Fiona & Elizabeth yet again thank you.
If we spilt 50/50 we will both get £90k each and with a small mortgage reckon we should get a small street house each. Thing is I have bitten the bullet and bought a street house as I thought renting was money down the drain! So I have a £100k interest only mortgage hoping that release of the capital on our joint house would fund or part fund this!?
Wife/her solicitor doesnt see it this way and that's why getting dragged to court. Seems like they are taking my pension £120k CETV at full value i.e. £120k + £27k(my share 15% in house equity) = £147k against what they are asking (85%) circa £153k of the equity on our house.
We each have one child to house, youngest coming up to 15 with wife and 17r old (at college) with me.
Thanks again!

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18 Mar 08 #17121 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Limited time exasperated,

The CETV will not be dealt with pound for pound - it is an illiquid asset and therefore cannot be offset against a liquid asset pound for pound. I know this as my ex's solicitors used this argument - it didn't matter anyway as the pension was shared - which I think is a fairer way anyway. This was taken to a FH so I am confident that this is right.

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19 Mar 08 #17227 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Obviously it's in the posters interest to argue Maskell v Maskell that unrealisable assets are not the same as liquid assets but "Some District Judges took Maskell to heart and others did not." and "However, there is no proper guidance from the courts in how much pension to offset against hard assets." See;-

www.4bc.co.uk/view_article.html?id=85


In Norris v Norris [2002] EWHC 2996 (Fam) Mr Justice Bennet said;

72. I agree with Mr Scott that Maskell is distinguishable. It is a long way removed from the facts in the instant case. In my judgment on the facts of this case it would not be unfair to the husband to include the full value of the pension fund in his assets.

Each case is treated according to the individual circumstances and there is room for interpretation.

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19 Mar 08 #17244 by Elizabeth
Reply from Elizabeth
Hello Fiona,

I see your reply to exasperated regarding the pension issue. In my case it went to a Final Hearing my ex-husband was the applicant, he took it as far as this as he refused right from the outset to consider his large pension (compared to mind, e.g his: 79,000, mind:- 11,00).

The Maskell/Norris cases were quoted by his solicitor. My solicitor/barrister did not quote any cases at all, and indeed as a lay person I did not know that the pension CETV could NOT be offset pound for pound until right near the end of negotiations when his solicitor said they could not. They were treated as illiquid assets and the equity in the house (approx 50 thousand each) were treated separately.

My ex at the time intended to re-house himself in the North of England where housing was approx 40 thousand pounds cheaper for the same standard of property. I therefore, and quite rightly, based on the facts before me, made proposals on this basis. We each had a child each. However, my ex husband, at the FDR was enlighted by the fact that the courts would deal with the re-housing of both parties at the time of the form E being completed and full and frank disclosure made. He was earning 10,000 pounds more a year (as he always had been the main earner) and he was in a relatively cheaper part of the country when it came to re-housing. We each had a child in our care.

Immediately after the final hearing he moved back South.
This moved the goal posts significantly, of course, all my proposals had been true to the facts I had at the time. The final hearing was three months later, and he managed to get the hearing re-located from North to South despite the fact the divorce had been issued by him in a Northern court.

Now, I then had to deal with this change of game plan. As you will know I could not bring any of this to the Final Hearing. My ex conveniently got a job in the South and the courts looked at the housing needs at this time. It was literally a matter of months, he had a CCJ against him and was heavily in debt. But the judge overlooked these facts and still "awarded" him half the equity in the house, but also shared his large pension which he had not been prepared to do at any stage in the proceedings. I think after 20 years and having supported him whilst he was "earning" such a pension I should have been entitled to some of it... I was prepared.. at the time he lived up North to give up this and offset it against the equity in the house. It was at the late stage (a matter of weeks) before the FH that I was told that offseting pound for pound was not seen, in the court's eyes as right. I agree, each case is on it's own merit, but in the case of offseting should there not be some kind of standard guideline so that it can be at least formalised in some way?

I thank you for your wise information on this site, your replies to posts are always very informative and helpful.

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