There are no hard and fast rules governing how assets should be divided when a couple divorces, although there is a broad starting point of 50:50. However, new research* shows that women who divorce can often end up with less than half the property wealth of married couples and less than one third of the average pension wealth. The study showed that the average divorced woman over 50 has pension wealth of £131,000 compared with £454,000 for the average married couple.
Dividing pension assets
Many people think that on divorce a pension solely belongs to the party who is named on the policy, but that’s not the case. A pension has to be considered along with other financial assets owned by the couple when reaching a financial settlement. Pension assets can be apportioned in various ways:
• offsetting the value of one spouse’s fund by transferring a lump sum, or other assets, to the other spouse
• splitting the pension fund into two separate pensions
• arranging that when a pension comes to be paid, a portion goes to the other spouse.
Getting the right advice at the right time
The findings underline the need to get advice when considering how marital assets should be divided on divorce.
A pension pot can often represent a substantial sum of money and needs to be considered alongside other major assets such as property.
Post-divorce, it makes sense to discuss your revised circumstances with us. You’ll need to reconsider your financial goals, and review your mortgage, pension and investment plans, plus remake your Will. Reorganising your finances can represent a major step in moving forward to a new life.
*Source – Royal London, 2019