Pensions on Divorce Interdisciplinary Working Group

The Nuffield funded study Pensions on Divorce found that there was a widespread lack of confidence amongst practitioners on the issue of pensions on divorce, poor quality pension disclosure on the court files and a substantial proportion of potentially unfair outcomes. Of the 369 court files studied, 80% revealed at least one relevant pension and yet only 14% contained a pension order. Practitioners confirmed that offsetting pensions against other capital assets remained the most common way of dealing with pensions, but there was little if any agreement on how the pensions or the offset should be valued. The little, and sometimes contradictory, guidance that case law offers is chiefly geared towards bigger money cases.

The project aimed to make a major improvement to the practice of pensions on divorce and will be of particular benefit to those divorcing couples who are not fabulously wealthy but nevertheless hold pensions of some value.

The project aimed to establish the Pension Advisory Group - an interdisciplinary working group - whose purpose would be to provide an in-depth analysis of how pensions on divorce should be approached, particularly in relation to valuing pensions and offsetting them against other capital assets. The working group would comprise members of the judiciary, practising solicitors, barristers and academics with special expertise in pensions and financial remedies on divorce, and pension experts.

In July 2019, the Pension Advisory Group has published its essential guide to the treatment of pensions on divorce. PAG’s long awaited report brings guidance to family judges, lawyers and pension experts encouraging fairer settlements and helping to manage liability.

Project details

 

Researcher

Hilary Woodward, Cardiff Law School

Grant amount and duration

£17,000

June 2017 - July 2019

Guide

 

A Guide to the Treatment of Pensions on Divorce (July 2019):