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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

2.Pension Sharing on Divorce

The measures in the Act

The main measures in the Act that relate to pension sharing on divorce and nullity are contained in Parts III and IV, sections 19 - 51.

The provisions in the Act largely put in place the proposals on pension sharing set out in the consultation paper. They introduce the option of pension sharing on divorce or nullity of marriage and will:

  • allow pension rights to be treated like other assets and the whole, or a proportion, of their value to be transferred from one spouse to the other as part of the financial settlement; but

  • will not be compulsory – it will still be possible to offset pension rights against other assets or to use the current earmarking and attachment arrangements.

In addition, in the light of comments made during the consultation exercise, the provisions in the Act put beyond doubt the fact that pension sharing will be available only to those who begin proceedings for divorce or nullity after the legislation has been brought into force. The Act also includes changes designed to improve the current legislation on attachment and earmarking.

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