What happens to pensions in divorce? A recent report gives surprising statistics that 7 out of 10 couples tend not to think about pension provisions during divorce proceedings. People are very alert to agreeing a split that offers each party a fair share of jointly owned property and savings, but it seems divorcing couples are far less aware of the importance of splitting pensions. The effect of neglecting this will be particularly negative for the financially weaker party in pension terms, often the wife.
During divorce there are so many things demanding immediate care and attention. The key matters are usually housing plans, now and in the future, arrangements for children in the short and longer term. All aspects of a shared life have to be reviewed and considered, including things like holiday plans, and care of the family pets. The issue of what happens to family pets can be a serious emotional matter for children especially, as they will worry about these details. In fact, parents will be aware that some children are more likely to be preoccupied with what will happen to a beloved pet, and where will the pet will live, than their own living arrangements. So little wonder that in the midst of all this it can be difficult to think about financial arrangements a decade or two into the future, depending on the ages of the couple.
The fact that the same report noted that more married people are worried about the arrangements for their pets than sharing their future pensions shows how hard it is to think about everything. It is important to try to find some calm space in the middle of these complex, demanding issues to think about the future, not just the immediate needs of the family.
If your pension position is weaker, and if it gets left out of discussions, or not properly addressed, it will have a more negative effect on you than your partner. This is because the status quo will obviously benefit the person with a stronger pension. This is an important matter to get advice about. Do not leave pensions out of your considerations and plans. Undertake a “reality test” of your future financial plans: think about what the arrangements would be like now, in the immediate short term, but also projecting 5 and 10 years ahead.
No-one is likely to achieve an ideal outcome but the more prepared you are for the future, then the more focused your negotiations will be, as you work through separating your finances, as well as managing the care of the family, and the home, all at the same time.
If you have any questions or queries about this article or any of my other articles all of which are on our website www.hmbsolicitors.co.uk., please feel free to email me, Sarah Beskine, on [email protected]. If there are any particular issues that any readers would like to ask please feel free to email me.