An article in the “i” newspaper recently focused on to the disastrous fallout for women from the reduction on pension sharing orders. This appears to be happening in connection with the use of DIY divorces.
The thinking behind allowing individuals to “manage” their own divorces was that if their finances were considered to be fairly straightforward they could be split easily between both parties. However, as family lawyers have been pointing out for a long time, finances in a divorce are rarely straightforward and individuals who may have previously behaved in a rational and fair way with regard to finances, can start to behave very differently when divorce looms.
The following quote is from the “i” newspaper article:
“According to Ministry of Justice figures, applications for pension sharing orders fell by 35 per cent in the four years to 2021 to about 23,600, in spite of a 1.6 per cent increase in divorces between 2017 and 2020.’”
According to research carried out by the University of Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing, divorced men aged between 55 to 64 have on average five times more in pension savings than divorced women of the same age. For men, the average pension savings were around £100,000 compared with just £19,000 for women of the same age group.
Pension sharing orders ensure that the spouse with a lower value of pension savings is granted a proportion of their ex-partner’s pension pots.
The importance of getting the finance agreement right in a divorce cannot be overstated. Divorce lawyers know what questions need to be asked and what assets should be shared. For those who choose to conduct their own divorce proceedings the potential pitfalls are huge. It is very unlikely that the person on the street is going to have the training or accumulated experience to ensure that the available pension funds are shared fairly.
If you are going through a divorce or considering your options with regard to this area, ensure you get the legal advice you deserve and need. Your future finances are as important as and deeply connected to your future happiness.
Please contact rhw’s friendly Family Law Team if you would like to discuss any issues connected with this article or any other family law matter.