News in brief
Detailed study into pension sharing on divorce
A report on pension sharing on divorce since its introduction in England and Wales in 2000 has been carried out by Hilary Woodward and Mark Sefton of Cardiff Law School. The study reviewed court files, practitioners’ own experience, judges’ and experts’ assessment of data from a sample of court files. The conclusion reached was that pension sharing was a good weapon in the court’s armoury but that it was used by only a privileged minority. The more common approach was to offset pension against non-pension assets.
Key points drawn from the study were as follows:
All pension orders were for pension sharing and predominantly in favour of the wife.
Pension orders were more likely to be made between older parties from longer marriages.
Pension orders were more likely to be made where each party were legally represented.
The lack of pension and spousal maintenance orders coupled with the fact that husbands generally had higher income and pensions than wives, meant that husbands usually fared better after divorce on income and pension.
Pension reports were rarely obtained and usually because the time, cost and fees associated with them acted as a deterrent. However, when reports were obtained they were viewed as positive by both practitioners and judges.
Kevin Neary , Donnelly Neary & Donnelly Solicitors , Newry , Castlewellan County Down & Dublin