Q&As

The respondent wishes to apply for decree absolute, but the financial proceedings remain pending. Will pronouncement of the decree absolute impact on any future pension sharing order? As a Form A has been issued, would the applicant be protected in relation to their pension claim and the strict timelines regarding implementation of a pension sharing order?

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Produced in partnership with Nicholas Starks of St Ives Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 12/12/2018

The following Family Q&A produced in partnership with Nicholas Starks of St Ives Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The respondent wishes to apply for decree absolute, but the financial proceedings remain pending. Will pronouncement of the decree absolute impact on any future pension sharing order? As a Form A has been issued, would the applicant be protected in relation to their pension claim and the strict timelines regarding implementation of a pension sharing order?

Section 24B(2) of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 (MCA 1973) provides that ‘a pension sharing order … is not to take effect unless the decree … has been made absolute’. One might then ask, why not proceed with pronouncement of the decree absolute sooner than later, given that it is a necessary step for the implementation of pension sharing order?

Indeed, for some parties, the grant of decree absolute may also have psychological benefits, in providing them with a sense of closure, or practical benefits in allowing them legally to remarry, if they wished to.

However, pronouncement of decree absolute prior to a pension sharing order taking effect may have disastrous unintended consequences in the event of the death of the party with pension rights. Until decree absolute, the parties legally remain spouses, even if separated and decree nisi has been pronounced. Until decree absolute, in the event of the unfortunate death of the person with pension rights

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