Following the breakdown of the marriage, there are usually a number of financial issues to be resolved. Understandably, most often a separating couple concentrate on things like the future of the family home, and how any children of the family will be supported. However, this leaves out a major part of the matrimonial “pot” which are pensions.
For over 20 years, in England and Wales, it has been possible to split pensions on divorce, but recently published research from Manchester University and the Pensions Policy Institute seems to suggest that all too often, pensions are either ignored or not split fairly by couples during a divorce.
Most often, a separating couple concentrate on things like the future of the family home, and how any children of the family will be supported. However, this leaves out a major part of the matrimonial “pot” which are pensions.
Many people appear not to understand the significance and importance of having pensions in place for later life and most do not realise the true value of their pensions which can often be greater than the value of their house. The researchers found that in many cases, it was still the male breadwinner who had the better pension provision and that men become emotionally attached to their pension assets. As a result, when it comes to divorce, women are far more likely to prioritise keeping the family home whilst men are more focused on keeping their pension. These findings suggest that a wife who was the main carer of children would prefer to keep the family home, believing this to be the ‘better deal’.
Often, that is not the case. The difficulty that this causes is that even the increase in the value of the house will not provide enough capital to provide a decent pension when the time comes to retire, so you could be left with a mortgage free home but unable to afford to live in it because your pension is not enough.
Most do not realise the true value of their pensions which can often be greater than the value of their house.
The conclusion that Family Lawyers have drawn from this research is that divorcing couples need to be helped to have a better understanding of the importance and value of their pensions so that they can make an informed choice that combines securing them both a home, with ensuring that they have some pension income in retirement.
If you are about to separate or divorce, make sure you get proper advice that takes into account pensions and the impact they can have upon your future financial security.
At Harold Stock & Co Solicitors we offer a free of charge, untimed initial meeting with a family law specialist. There is no obligation to instruct us following this meeting. We will outline the options available to you and also discuss the costs involved in the matter. To get in touch with Chris Bowen, who specialises in Family Law – the legal aspects of family and relationship breakdown, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01457 835597.