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My wife and I have been married for some 24 years, although we are still only in our 40s. We have both worked throughout the marriage, although because my wife interrupted her career to have the children, I have made much more money than she has over the years and, as a result, the family, as a whole, is wealthy and we have very significant capital savings as well as assets.
I have been told that these must be divided equally and I do not object to this, but although my wife has a pension, it is considerably less than my own.
She is saying that it would not suit her to have a pension-sharing order to equalise the value of our respective pension funds and she is saying she would rather take extra capital.
Again, I do not mind this particularly, but she is asking me for enough capital to buy her the sort of pension that she could have if she took a slice of my pension and the resulting lump sum is exorbitant. It is so high that it would make a significant inroad into the capital that I am keeping and give her considerably more capital than she could possibly need.
This strikes me as completely unfair as, if the Court agrees with her, she will have extra money that she can use and spend, whereas I will simply have a pension fund, which I cannot draw down except at a penal tax rate, and which, in any event, is going to be variable.
Is there any alternative way of keeping my pension but not giving my wife quite so much money?
Yes. The Family Courts have, for a number of years, used a set of tables called Duxbury Tables which give the Courts a guide as to the appropriate capital that should be substituted for maintenance payments when parties are looking for a clean break with a view to avoiding either spouse having to maintain the other by way of a spousal maintenance payments.
Duxbury calculations produce much more management figures in a case like your own than the cost of purchasing an annuity at this point, most particularly when interest rates and return son investments are so low.
I would therefore suggest that you speak to your Solicitor about the figure that the Duxbury Tables produce, which I think you will find will be far less than the cost of purchasing an annuity. There has recently been a case in the High Court regarding this – WZ -v- WS (2015) which supports this approach.