It goes without saying that pensions are one of the most important assets on divorce. In fact, in many cases they are one of the most valuable assets, often second only to the former matrimonial home.
It is therefore essential that anyone going through divorce fully understands the issue of pension rights, and what they are entitled to.
But sadly not everyone does understand, with the result that many do not receive their full entitlement.
This applies especially to wives, as demonstrated recently by research undertaken on behalf of the pension provider Legal & General.
The research found that wives are significantly more likely to waive their rights to their husband’s pension as part of their divorce, with 28 per cent of wives doing this, compared to 19 per cent of husbands.
Legal & General rightly say that this could have a significant long-term impact upon wives, particularly as they tend to have less personal pension wealth.
According to the most recent findings from the Office for National Statistics, men currently below the State Pension age have higher (£25,300) median active pension wealth than women (£20,000), and for those aged 65 years and over, median pension wealth for pensions in payment for men is double that for women (£223,933 for men against £112,967 for women).
Unsurprisingly, the research showed that wives are more likely to face financial struggle post-divorce (31 per cent, against 21% of husbands), and worry about the impact on their retirement (16% per cent, against 10% of husbands).
These worrying figures indicate the vital importance of obtaining the best legal and financial advice regarding the issue of pensions on divorce. Clearly wives, especially those at or approaching retirement age, should not be disadvantaged in this way.
In particular, wives need to know the true financial effect of waiving their rights to their husband’s pension, rather than seeking a share of the pension. This is not a step that should be taken without proper advice.
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All divorcing wives (and indeed husbands!) should seek expert legal and financial advice regarding pension rights. We can find you an expert that works with you on our digital platform. For more information, call us on 020 3904 0506, or click here, and fill in the form.
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Family Law Cafe offers a modern, agile and compassionate approach to family law, giving you a helping hand when you need it and guiding you through the complexities of this difficult and stressful area. Family Law Cafe is your start-point for getting matters sorted with strategy, support and security.
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