Month: November 2019

What is a pension sharing order?

Since divorce pension sharing was introduced in December 2000, pensions have become part of the assets that must be considered during a divorce settlement.

Getting a divorce can be very stressful, with lots of important decisions to be made and paperwork to be filled out during what is already a very emotional time.

One of the biggest tasks that must be tackled is fairly dividing up the couple’s assets. Assets can include property, money, possessions and pensions, anything under a shared name must be considered.

Dividing up a pension
Pension sharing orders are not a compulsory part of a divorce. A pension is an important asset that should be considered during a divorce, but there are different options for dividing it up.
The three main options for dividing a pension are sharing, offsetting and earmarking. A pension sharing order offers a clean break solution.

What is a Pension Sharing Order?
If one party of a divorcing couple has no pension entitlement, then a pension sharing order can be granted by the court to give shared rights to the other party’s pension through a legal arrangement.

How is the pension split?
A pension sharing order does not always require a pension to be split 50/50.

Both party’s assets and finances should be assessed in order to determine how to fairly split the pension. If a decision cannot be reached, then it will be down to the court to decide.

Why do I need a pension sharing order?
If a couple decide that they wish to share a pension, then even if they can amicably agree the percentage split, they will still need to apply to the court for a court order.

This is because pension providers and pension schemes are not allowed to divide or transfer a pension without direction from a court.

For further help or advice with dividing a pension during divorce proceedings, speak to our team of family law specialists here at Lund Bennett by giving our team a call on 0161 927 3118.

What property rights do unmarried couples have?

As many young couples choose to shun married life, it’s important that cohabiting couples understand their property rights.

Cohabiting couples are the UK’s fastest growing family-type, but the law has not yet caught up with the country’s changing lifestyle trend. Currently, cohabiting couples, even those in very secure long-term relationships, have very different legal rights to married couples.

Married couples both have the right to live in the matrimonial home, whether that is rented or owned accommodation, however the law differs for cohabiting couples.

It’s important that all unmarried couples living together understand their property rights to help them to plan and prepare for the future and to avoid a nasty shock in the event of a separation.

Rented accommodation
When it comes to cohabiting couples that rent property, if your name is not on the tenancy agreement, then you have no legal right to stay in the property if asked to leave. If you are both named on the tenancy agreement, then you have equal rights to stay at the property.

Owned property
If a property is owned jointly by a cohabiting couple, then they both have equal legal rights to the property if they separate.

However, if the property is owned solely by one party then they are the only ones with ownership and the legal right to remain in the property. The other party may still be able to claim ‘beneficial interest’ if they can prove that they have made significant financial contributions towards the property.

If beneficial interest cannot be claimed, then the party will have no legal right to stay in the property.

Forming a cohabitation agreement can be an excellent way for cohabiting couples to gain some financial security. When forming an agreement, the couple will legally agree each party’s rights and responsibilities to help reduce the risk of disagreements in the event of a breakdown of the relationship.

For help creating a cohabitation agreement or resolving a cohabitation dispute, speak to our team of expert family law specialists here at Lund Bennett by calling 0161 927 3118.

Family Law Reforms Fall Due to Upcoming General Election

Due to the imminent General Election, two key pieces of family legislation will now definitely not progress within the current Parliament, which is expected to dissolve on Wednesday. The Domestic Abuse Bill, along with the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill are both at a stand-still with their future uncertain.

The Domestic Abuse Bill has been hailed by domestic violence awareness groups for its proposals to prevent victims of being cross-examined by alleged abusers when giving evidence in the family courts. Today’s confirmation that the election will prevent any chance of the bill achieving Royal Assent has been met with disappointment.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill includes proposals for significant reform of the law surrounding divorce within the UK. This includes, including provisions for ‘no-fault’ divorce which would allow couples to divorce without apportioning blame for the breakdown of the marriage to one party. It would also materially change the manner that spousal maintenance is paid.

Even if the bills are brought back onto the agenda in the future, there will at the very least be substantial delay before they reappear before the relevant committee. It is not known at this stage which party, or indeed parties in the case of a coalition, will be in Government following the election or where the bills will sit within their legislative agenda.

As reported in the Law Gazette, the Domestic Violence and Abuse bill was being considered by a public bill committee, which was due to report to the House of Commons by 21 November. However, Parliament’s website states that ‘due to the imminent dissolution of this parliament and the forthcoming general election, the bill will not progress any further and the public bill committee will no longer meet’.