According to research carried out by Scottish Widows, seven in ten couples do not consider pensions during divorce proceedings, leaving women short-changed by an estimated £5billion per year.
The Scottish Widows research shows that while 56% of married people would fight for a fair share of jointly owned property and 36% would want to split combined savings, only 9% claim they would want a fair split in any pensions, less than the number of married people who would be concerned about losing a pet during settlement (10%).
The research carried out by Scottish Widows also indicated that while 59% of men saved adequately for retirement, only 53% of women did the same. This figure drops to 49% of divorced women with 24% of divorced women saying they are unable to save anything at all towards a pension post-divorce.
Scottish Widows’ research also indicates that almost half of women (48%) have no idea what happens to pensions when a couple gets divorced; with 22% presuming each party keep their own pension and 15% believe pensions are split 50/50 regardless of the circumstances.
Catherine Stewart, Retirement Expert at Scottish Widows said: ‘Generally speaking, women’s retirement prospects are worse than men’s……it is important that everyone…takes steps to understand their finances and prepare for an independent future should a relationship breakdown’.
Financial settlement forms part of divorce proceedings, with marital assets being split between the respective parties.
On divorce pensions can be dealt with in a number of ways. The court can:
- order that one person keeps their entire pension but receives less of the marital assets (‘offsetting’); or
- order that the pensions be shared by transferring a percentage of one party’s pension to the other (‘a pension sharing order’); or
- make an combination of the above two orders or indeed no order at all in respect of pensions.
The financial picture for every separating or divorcing couple is different. It is vital to obtain legal advice at an early stage to properly assess the options available to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties.
Nigel Shepherd, National Chairman of Resolution said ‘it is clear that all too often in divorce pensions are not being take into account properly or at all……there is no substitute for expert legal and financial advice and the costs involved should be considered an investment’.
If you are in the process of getting divorced, are separated or simply wish to discuss your options, please contact our Family team on 01865 244661 (Oxford) or 01869 252244 (Bicester).
Source: Scottish Widows Press Release