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Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999

Pension debits

Section 34: “Implementation period”

Subsection (1) provides that the implementation period will be 4 months beginning on the date on which the order takes effect or, if later, the date on which the pension arrangement receives the relevant matrimonial documents (defined in subsection (2)) and any other information prescribed by regulations made under subsection (1)(b).

We intend to use the regulation-making power to secure that the implementation period will not start until the pension arrangement has the information needed to carry out the pension share. This may include items such as the couple’s full names, addresses, ages and National Insurance numbers, as well as for Scotland such documentary evidence as may be prescribed under section 25(3) that the negotiated agreement has been entered in such a way as to be regarded as a ‘qualifying agreement’.

Subsection (3) provides that subsection (1) is subject to regulations made under section 41(2)(a). We intend to use the regulation-making power under the latter provision to allow the person responsible for a pension arrangement to postpone the start of the implementation period, where he has made payment of a pension sharing charge a pre-condition to implementing the pension share, until payment of the charge.

Subsection (4)(a) provides a regulation-making power to provide that a scheme must inform both the scheme member and former spouse of the day on which the implementation period begins;

Subsection (4)(b) provides a regulation-making power which we intend to use to allow the implementation period to be suspended where a scheme is being wound up, and is unable to meet its liability to the former spouse in full, and the former spouse has consented to the suspension;

Subsection (4)(c) provides a regulation-making power to provide that implementation of the pension share may be suspended if the pension sharing order is subject to an application for leave to appeal out of time.

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