What happens to my pension after divorce?

First comes Marriage, then for some couples comes divorce. But a stable marriage is one of the best paths to building and maintaining wealth. Divorce, on the other hand, is expensive. Possessions, money, financial assets and debut acquired during (and sometimes before) marriage are divided between former spouses. Putting a price tag on a divorce is tricky.

However, for some couples, no amount of marriage counselling is enough to avoid a divorce. It’s a tough process  emotionally and financially. Untangling two people’s money can be messy. Long before spousal or child support is awarded or your post-divorce budget is in place, you’ll need to prepare your finances for the work ahead.

Marital breakdown and loosing pension savings

Divorcees who plan to retire in 2018 can expect their yearly income to drop by £3,800 compared to those who’ve never divorced, new research shows. The findings reveal that the expected annual retirement income for those divorcees retiring in 2018 is £17,600, compared with £21,400 for those who have never experienced a marriage break up.

The latest available divorce statistics from the Office of National Statistics covering up to 2016 showed that the number of people getting divorced has started to rise again, and that those over the age of 55 saw the greatest increase in 2016 compared to 2015.

Retiring in debt

Those who have been divorced are more likely to retire in debt (23%) than those who have never been divorced (16%). But it’s not all bad news for divorcees though, as they will retire with lower debts (£30,500 compared with £36,900).

However, divorcees are more likely to have no pension savings at all when they retire (15%) than those who haven’t been through a divorce (11%). And they’re less likely to reach the minimum standard for their annual income set by the standards the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The huge financial impact of divorce

Around one in seven (14%) who have been divorced expect to have incomes lower than the JRF’s benchmark of £192.27 a week, or £9,998 a year, compared with 12% of those who have never been divorced.

Divorce can have a huge financial impact on people’s lives. Many may not realise that the cost of divorce can last well into retirement, as divorcees expect retirement incomes of nearly £4,000 less each year than those who have never been divorced.

Pension after divorce – a very complex asset to split

The stress of getting through a divorce can mean people understandably focus on the immediate priorities like living arrangements and childcare, but a pension fund and income in retirement should also be a priority. A pension fund is one of the most complex assets a couple will have to split, so anyone going through a divorce should seek legal and professional financial advice to help them do so.

For many more couples, the increase in value of pensions mean that it is often the largest asset. It goes without saying that advice is crucial as early as possible in any separation where couples have joint assets.

The heart wants what the heart wants

This research highlights the importance of divorced couples continuing to pay into their pensions even after a pension share on divorce has been implemented. Usually, a pension built up during the marriage is shared equally on divorce. If the divorcing couple are some way off retirement, this often gives the person receiving the pension share the chance to plan.

The old saying about love is that ‘the heart wants what the heart wants’. When the heart wants a divorce, it can feel like your world is turning upside down. While divorces are gut- wrenching emotionally, the financial implications can be equally devastating.

Your financial needs

Divorce and money concerns go hand-in- hand. Not only will you have to determine how to split the assets and debts during
the divorce, but you’ll have to figure out how to survive financially after the divorce is finalised. Please contact us for further information or to arrange a meeting if this is an area you would like to discuss.

If you would like to find out more about pension planning and how it might effect your divorce call us on 0113 436 0110 or fill in the form below.

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