This came up in another thread as a means of overcoming the pension-in-payment Income Gap Syndrome - where the member spouse being paid a pension sustains an immediate reduction by the percentage share agreed but the other spouse has to wait years to take their full share into payment because different rules apply to the pension credit member. In most cases a much reduced pension is payable from age 55 but most people wouldn''t regard the early pension reduction as a good deal.
The question is whether pension sharing agreed/ordered? in the Consent Order can be safely delayed - the pensioner paying spousal maintenance in the meantime+taking out life assurance] - by the two spouses agreeing not to apply for Decree Absolute until the ex-spouse pension credit member reaches the age where the full pension credit pension can be taken into payment.
"33. Either party may apply for the decree to be made absolute: the Petitioner after 6 weeks, the Respondent after 3 months, from Decree Nisi. Under the FPR 1991 R 2.49 the procedure for making a Decree Absolute was the lodging of a notice in Form M 8, whereupon the district judge "shall cause" the records to be searched for the purpose of establishing that there is no outstanding application or question affecting the Decree Nisi or preventing the granting of the decree absolute: for instance challenge to the order by way of rescission or appeal, intervention by the Queen''s Proctor or other third party, application for consideration of the Respondent''s financial position in divorce proceedings based on section 1 (2) (d) and (e) where the court may delay the decree Absolute, or unresolved issues with regard to gender recognition. If satisfied that no such challenge is in existence the District Judge shall make the decree Absolute. However this is subject to the proviso that if the notice is lodged more than 12 months after the grant of decree nisi there shall be lodged with the M8 notice an explanation in writing, which the District Judge may require to be verified by affidavit
a. Giving reasons for the delay
b. Stating whether the parties have lived with each other since the Decree Nisi and, if so, between what dates
c. And giving details of any child subsequently born to the parties.
34. The District Judge may make "any order on the application as he thinks fit".
Would the judge looking at the reasons for delay accept Income Syndrome Gap as good enough reason - what reasons for delay are acceptable to judges ?
If the delay was accepted would the court issue the pension sharing Order to the pension scheme using the date of the Decree Absolute as the "start date"?
It''s a real headache. If an immediate pension share is ordered, the''s
income is reduced straightaway but the sharee, if there is such a word, doesn''t get any immediate benefit. Only the pension fund comes out better off.
" Recommended Solutions
Defer Decree Absolute until Mrs Coward age 60 (3 years)
Mr Coward continues on full pension
Agree maintenance payment of 50% net pension income for three years Agree to apply PSO at Mrs Coward’s age 60
Agree apply for Decree Absolute in 3 years
Consider entitlement to on-going Spouse’s benefit and/or life cover "