Family Law Hub

Pensions

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  • The wife appealed from an order that had reduced the lump sum awarded to the husband from £814,000 to £733,650 (£630,000 and £550,000 net after payment of capital gains tax) and reduced the husband's pension share from 48.6% to 34%. The wife had retained 73% of the non-pension assets plus the balance of her pensions. Both the district judge and the judge had considered that a significant departure from an equal sharing of the matrimonial assets was justified. Following receipt of the judge's judgment both the husband and the wife had sent what were said to be requests for clarification. The judge concluded that these requests were in fact an impermissible "critique of the judgment and an attempt at further argument". In Moylan LJ's view, the judge had clearly decided that it was too late for further evidence to be adduced, and this decision was one which had been open to him and it had not been shown to be wrong. Parties should not expect a judge to permit further evidence to be adduced at such a late stage of the proceedings, particularly following an appeal. Lewison and Nugee LJ agreed, and the wife's appeal was dismissed. Judgment, 01/02/2021, free
  • Live webinar to be broadcast 1pm-2pm, Tuesday 2nd February 2021. News, 11/01/2021, free
  • Webinar to be broadcast on Wednesday 25th November 2020. News, 27/10/2020, free
  • An appeal in financial remedy proceedings, regarding pension sharing and section 28(1A) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The parties were married in 2005 and separated in 2017, with one daughter who now lived with the mother. The wife argued that the overall order was not fair to her, and that the pension share was too small. Despite his concerns about the apparent ring fencing of the pension pot, HHJ Richard Robinson concluded that the judge had been entitled to reach the conclusions that he did on the evidence that he heard, and that there were no sufficient reasons to interfere with his decision. He came to the same conclusion regarding the section 28(1A) bar. Judgment, 26/06/2020, free
  • An appeal against a decision in financial remedy proceedings. Leave to appeal had been granted on limited grounds: whether the husband had made contributions to the mortgage, and whether the right approach had been taken to the valuation of the wife's pension. The parties married in 2008 and separated in 2011, and had been in a relationship since 1988. HHJ Richard Robinson found that the husband was unable to show any bank statements which did not align with the judge's findings, and hence decided that there was no merit in the first ground of appeal. As to the second ground, he found that there were difficulties with the judgment. The judge had been aware of the husband's health issues but dismissed them as irrelevant to an assessment of his future needs. The judge appeared to have been "led into error by an over-emphasis on the non-matrimonial accrual of part of the pension and of contributions over needs". The correct approach would be to analyse the parties’ comparative income and needs in retirement, and thus the extent to which the wife’s pension should be apportioned. A complete rehearing would be excessive; a directions hearing would be held to decide the next steps. Judgment, 15/06/2020, free

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