New report shows divorcing wives losing £5 billion!
A recent report from pension specialist Scottish Widows, appears to highlight the risk of not taking professional legal advice on divorce, particularly in respect of pensions.
According to the report, nearly three-quarters (71%) of divorced people did not discuss pensions during divorce proceedings, with a fifth (22%) presuming each partner keeps their own pension and 15% believing (wrongly) that they are split 50- 50, no matter what the circumstances.
Due to this oversight, Scottish Widows estimates that divorced women are missing out on £5 billion in pension payments every year.
As a family law specialist, I find these figures both surprising and deeply concerning. Pensions are a crucial consideration in any divorce, frequently being more valuable than the equity of the house that the couple have lived in.
It is difficult for me to believe that any competent family solicitor would fail to give serious consideration to pensions as a major issue in a divorce financial settlement. Not to consider pensions would almost invariably constitute professional negligence.
Not every divorce case necessarily results in a pension sharing order, for various reasons, but we would always explain the options very carefully, and no client would be amongst Scottish Widow’s reported 71% who did not discuss pensions within divorce.
Pensions are complex assets, and without legal advice few divorcing spouses would be in a position to understand the complexities of the pensions or the various ways in which the court can deal with pensions as part of an overall settlement.
Due to their complex nature, I have written various articles about pensions. You can view them here:
- Understanding pensions on divorce
- Pension sharing – the good, the bad and the uncertain
- Foreign pensions in English divorces
If you are in the midst of proceedings and your solicitor has not raised any questions about pensions then please do not be afraid to ask. You do not want to be one of the statistics quoted in next year’s report!