In the UK today 66% of divorced women rely on state pensions following retirement. A recent study commissioned by the Phoenix group has found that after divorce one in five women stops paying in to a pension altogether. The research also revealed that two in five divorced women say they are worse off financially after divorce. Additionally, half of divorced women made no contributions at all to a pension scheme whilst married but only one in six had rights to a pension through their ex husband. Of these women questioned one in five had no idea about their pension provision since their divorce.
Pensions form part of the pot of matrimonial assets to be divided between spouses on divorce. Often the value of husbands and wives pension fund can differ considerably due to various factors – women may earn less than their husbands , they may work part time or have taken years out of work whilst the children were growing up.
These new figures show the importance of considering pensions and the question of pension sharing at the same time that the other financial assets of the marriage are divided .Sadly it is an area that is often overlooked by those separating who are keener to sort out other more pressing matters such as who is to remain in the family home and what is to happen to the joint savings and investments and who is to care for the children. Sound professional advice from an experienced Family Law Solicitor with experience of dealing with pension sharing is essential to ensure that pensions are considered fairly. Often a report from an independent pension expert will be required to determine what the appropriate division of pension should be.
If you are going through a separation or are already separated and need advice about financial issues arising from a marriage or relationship breakdown please contact Noelle Heath at our Leeds office on 033 3344 9600 or complete our online enquiry form.
This Fact Sheet is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice.