Pensions in Divorce Comments from the Daily Mail 7/1/2019

Jan 7, 2019 | 0 comments

Divorced women over 50 end up with pensions worth £100,000 less than their ex-partners

  • The average pension pot of divorced women over 50 is worth £131,000 
  • The figure comes from analysis of an Office for National Statistics survey 
    It found that divorced men typically enjoy pension pots worth £235,000 

Divorced women over the age of 50 end up with a pension worth £100,000 less than that of their former husband, official figures show.

Their average pension pot totals £131,000 – compared to the £235,000 divorced men typically have. The figures are based on analysis of an Office for National Statistics survey of over-50s divorced people and married couples across Britain.

The average divorced woman over 50 has property wealth of £169,000 compared to the £191,000 of men. Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, who now works for insurer Royal London which compiled the analysis, said divorced women are becoming the ‘poor relations’ in society.

He claimed they end up ‘way behind’ married couples and divorced men when it comes to housing and pension wealth.

He stressed that inequalities were happening despite laws in place to protect partners from losing out after a break-up.

Sir Steve said: ‘Pensions are so complicated to understand that many people do not appreciate their value when they get divorced. Their focus tends to be on getting half of the house.

‘But if your ex-husband has a generous pension built up over 25 years, it could be worth more than the house.’ Royal London said pensions were not prioritised when negotiating divorce settlements.

Sir Steve called for those going through a divorce to ensure their former partner’s pension received the same focus as more ‘visible’ household assets such as the family home. He warned if this did not happen, they could unknowingly lose out on tens of thousands of pounds in later life.

January tends to be a month when divorce lawyers see a surge in enquiries after tensions in relationships have boiled over at Christmas. Sir Steve said: ‘When couples split up there is an understandable focus on family issues and on highly visible assets such as the family home.

‘But very often one partner will have pension rights which are less visible but can be just as valuable.’

Another ex-pensions minister, Baroness Ros Altmann, said: ‘Women lose out with pensions in many ways – and divorce often leaves women worse off in retirement.’ 

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