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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Summary of pension sharing provisions

Part III

Section 19 (andSchedule 3) amends Parts II and IV of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The effect of the amendments is to enable the court in England and Wales to make pension sharing orders in relation to divorce and nullity of marriage.

Section 20 makes corresponding provision for Scotland.

Section 21 (andSchedule 4) amends the sections about pensions inserted in the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 by section 166 of the Pensions Act 1995.

Section 22 extends the earmarking provisions, included in the Pensions Act 1995, to applications for financial relief after an overseas divorce, separation or annulment by amending the Matrimonial and Family Proceedings Act 1984. In Scotland, it is already possible to apply for an attachment order following an overseas divorce.

Section 23 brings together the various England, Wales and Scotland powers in relation to the supply of information, calculation and verification of pension rights and charges for the provision of information into a single Great Britain power. The new power also extends the scope of the regulations to Northern Ireland in the sense that British pension arrangements will have to supply information in relation to financial relief under Northern Ireland legislation.

Section 24 provides for the making of regulations by the Secretary of State to enable pension arrangements to recover their charges for complying with earmarking orders under England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland legislation.

Section 25 gives the Lord Chancellor power by order to make consequential amendments to Part III of the Act, including Schedule 3 (amendments to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to enable the court in England and Wales to make pension sharing orders) if the new divorce procedure in Part II of the Family Law Act 1996 comes into force before Part III of the Act. Exercise of the power is subject to affirmative resolution of both houses of Parliament.

Section 26 provides a number of definitions which are relevant to Part III of the Act.

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