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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33283
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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, I need help with civil law and Pension-Divorce Court

Customer Question

, I need help with civil law and Pension-Divorce Court Ancillary Relief Order. I have also attached an Excel sheet showing the chronology of events.

case details;

Divorce Pension Settlement – November 2001 – Seat Huang Devey and Dr Michael Devey

My ex-husband passed away in February 2014.

BP Pension Trust sent me a letter dated 21st March 2014 asking about my financial dependency on my ex prior to his death.

I told them that I was financially dependent but I don’t have any written proof. BP Pension Trust (BP) said I needed proof.

I asked what kind of proof they said written proof or bank statement.

I said I don’t have any as I dealt with my ex via my twins. I said my ex has been very ill and I do not communication with him directly.

I email BP an email written by my ex to me.

I have requested BP to provide more information on what they required in terms of ‘proof’ but they have refused to supply any, saying that I need to contact my ex’s lawyer. My ex’s lawyer was Baily Gibson.

------------------------------------------------

I then check my divorce papers and found the Ancillary Relief Application and the Ancillary Relief Order (the Order).

My divorce settlement involved an Ancillary Relief Application and the Court Judgment, which subsequently resulted in an Ancillary Relief Order (the Order).

The Order stated ‘50% of the lump sum payable in the event of his death in service under the terms of the said pension scheme’. It also stated that ‘any such payment by the trustees or managers of the said pension scheme should be treated purposes as a payment made by the Applicant husband as a party with pension rights in or towards his liability under the order’.

I emailed the Order to BP and they then said my ex died not ‘death in service’ as he took early retirement due to ill health. They said to contact my ex’s solicitor who dealt with the divorce.

I searched online Gibson and found that Baily Gibson closed office in 2012 and B Legal Solicitors is the contact point

http://www.b-legal.co.uk/

I contacted B Legal and a lawyer, spoke with me and he said his firm will not be able to deal with me and asked me to get a lawyer.

I reported this to BP who subsequently insisted that this matter is closed. I said the matter is NOT closed and will be seeking legal advice and if necessary the relevant authority.

Nature of my enquiry

Why BP asked me about my financial dependency on my ex prior to his death?

Also, why BP asked my daughters about my financial dependency when the pension has nothing directly to do with my daughters?

Why did BP refuses to cooperate with me in providing information when I requested information, even though in their letter to me, they said to contact them if I require any further information.

So far they have not been forth coming.

In fact I had 3 different people from BP dealing with this important matter. I was also asked about my address, which I replied and then to be told that they will not be able to provide me with further requested information.

They sent me a letter dated 11 April 2014, stating that I am not entitled to ‘widows pension’ and that my ex had already retired and that the Court Order is not applicable.

I have not been informed when the Court Order ceases when my ex took early retirement. This was expected event as highlighted in the Judgment and also clearly recognised by my ex.

My understanding is that the Court intended that when my ex had to take early retirement, the 50% lump sum pension allocation is applicable upon his death.

What are my rights to bring BP Pension Trust to court?

Has Baily Gibson failed to provide sufficient and relevant Court Order on the pension settlement as directed by the Judgment?

What are my rights to bring my ex-husband’s solicitor, Baily Gibson to court? – this is not something I wish to pursue. I do want BP to recognise that there is a Court Order. If the Court Order is no longer an ‘order’, how so? If so, how come I was not informed when this occurred?

I believe I have a right to be told.

What I want from the;

The Court – interpretation on the pension settlement on ‘death in service’ especially as the Court judgment stated ‘to exclude wife from the pension would be manifestly unfair’. The Judge also stated ‘ this is a case when the Court should consider offsetting’.

Further the Court judgment stated that ‘he may not be able to work and may have to retire before age 60. Because of his length of service and he has a sympathetic employer in the event of redundancy or early retirement employer would put together a reasonable package’.

Also during the divorce proceedings it was clear to all parties that Dr Devey was in ill health. Dr Devey even admitted that his ill health might necessitate earlier retirement [CASE NO.00 D01074].

I have no provision due to nature of my short-term work, and moreover my commitment and priority has been and still is, my children’s welfare. Also I have been a primary carer to my children as my ex travelled extensively and was away from home duration. When he was ill after the divorce, I took over my children’s (especially the twins) welfare like their schools and university’s events.

The Court judgment also noted that I have no provision .

My understanding of the Court Order is that I am entitled to 50% of my ex’s death benefit in event of death in service. This is clearly stipulated in the Court Judgment.

It seems that BP failed to execute or obey the Court Order by not notifying me when my ex’s circumstances changed when he had to take early retirement.

What I understand is that the Court intended that I have a right to half of my ex’s pension upon his death in service. Also, the Court recognised that my ex’s ill health may require him to take early retirement.

Ultimately what I want;

Execute my rights under the divorce pension law that came into effect in 2000, and that BP Pension Trust pay me the 50% of my ex’s death benefit in event of death in service. This, I believed was the intention of the Court in the Judgment and in the Ancillary Relief Order.

Side note:

BP said my eldest daughter had signed a paper stating that I was not financially dependent on my ex.

My eldest daughter has not in communication with me since my ex’s passing on 13th February 2014. We do not have a close relationship since my divorce.

My twins have been in close contact and I have been supporting them in all aspects of their welfare, as my ex has been ill long time. I have not been in any full-time employment since my final divorce settlement in 2002. I had a 6 months contract work in 2007 and then took time off to retrain and finish a course. Due to personal and family needs I have also spent a fair amount of time abroad mainly to care mother who passed away in August 2012. Currently I am a full-time PhD student.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you question.

I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Did you have legal advice in reaching the Financial settlement within the Divorce proceedings
Clare
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Clare,

I represented myself in court (with a friend supporting me in court) final settlement due to various circumstances after having dealt with 3 lawyers and 2 barristers. It was very messy.

I am afraid to say that I was not well represented before the final hearing and decided I had enough. I also consulted a lawyer and barrister after the financial settlement and was then told not to appeal.

Hope I've answered your question.

Did you see the Excel sheet with the chronology of recent events?

Thanks,

Cher

Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

What was the date of your Decree Nisi.
What other provisions were there within the Order relating to the Pension?
Woul dit be possible to attach a copy of the order?
Clare
Expert:  Clare replied 1 year ago.

Thank you .
You received the (paltry I must say) £40,000 in lieu of your share of his pension - that is what "offsetting" refers to.
You retained your right to half of his death IN SERVICE entitlement as that would have been likely to occur at a time when he was still financially supporting the children and you would need the extra funds to cover your extra costs.
He did not die in service and accordingly you have no claim on the pension as there was a Clean Break Order made by the Court dismissing all further claims you have against each other
BP were under no duty to notify you when he retired - and neither was your ex.
You were asked if you were financially dependent at the time of his death as the Trustees have discretion to award the pension to you if you were (you were not)
I am sorry - I know that this is not what you wish to hear but the Judgement and the Order are clear.
I may not agree with the Order - but it was the early days of Pension Sharing - and there was a great deal of caution when making them.
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Your daughter was asked as she and her siblings are entitled and the Trustees need to consider the conflicting claims
Your ex's solicitors have dome nothing wrong and you have no claim against them

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