Divorce in Later Life
The number of divorces in people over 60 has risen and enquiries into divorce and separation have increased in the so-called ‘silver splitters’ or ‘grey divorcees’; however, divorce in later life comes with a completely different set of circumstances and considerations.
If you are considering divorce as you approach your retirement, it's critical that your solicitor can fully support you with good financial planning and sensitive advice to help minimise your financial risks. With researchers predicting that silver splitters' divorce will triple by 2030, good legal advice is crucial.
At Pearson Solicitors, we deal with divorce across a wide age range. We help young families with their separation, negotiate consent orders and childcare arrangements, putting the welfare of children at the forefront, but now we’re often working with older couples whose marriage has simply come to an end.
“The no-fault divorce has ended the blame game, but whilst it’s easier to just say the marriage has reached its end and get a divorce, with older divorcees their financial affairs may be more complicated,” said divorce solicitor, Emma Kendall.
Effects of Divorce later in life
A couple will usually have a home but may have multiple assets or even a family business to be valued. At the same time, any work bonuses, stock options and of course, pensions will need to be taken into consideration by your solicitors.
“When chatting with older divorcing clients, we often find that in many cases, matrimonial finances are traditionally based on one who has been the financial breadwinner and the other who has worked part-time and been the homemaker,” explained Emma Kendall.
“In many cases, one partner may have accrued a larger pension than the other during the marriage, and so this all needs to be taken into consideration.”
The financial consequences of Divorce for later life
Pension inequality for women
It is a fact that most women see their household income fall as a result of getting divorced; it’s usually the case that an earlier generation of women has worked part-time, and so their pensions are affected.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for those aged 65 years and over, median pension wealth for men is double that for women (£223,933 for men vs £112,967 for women) and so any divorce settlement must make sure pension assets are appropriately dealt with for a full and fair financial settlement.
Property and financial assets
A house is often considered the couple’s biggest asset and achievement, but our divorce solicitors will also take into account pensions and other financial assets. An immediate question may be where each person will live.
If one stays in the family home, this is taken into consideration in the financial settlement as it involves legal and tax considerations, including capital gains tax implications. Older clients often find a mortgage harder to come by therefore any division of the property asset will take this into consideration.
Divorce and financial planning
Any investments in joint names will need to be changed and capital gains tax liabilities on the transfer of assets, as well as any future inheritance tax planning, are key parts of any good advice going forward.
Payment can be arranged for the weaker financial party to assist in the transition to separate lives. The Court can order maintenance for the parties' joint lives but this is quite rare as the Court will always try to achieve a clean break.
“A divorce in later life does not have to be financially unfair to either party with the right advice,” added Emma.
“When we see recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showing a 38% rise in the number of women over 65 applying for divorce in the space of a decade and a similarly substantial rise of 23% for men, as divorce solicitors we know that their needs will be different from younger families.”
“Each client comes with a different set of circumstances which we work through with them, and as for the financial consent order the family courts provide a bespoke solution according to each case.”
“In matrimonial finances it’s not a one size fits all solution and I advise anyone considering divorce in later life to get in touch with a specialist solicitor who can guide them through the process. Whilst we work hard for our client's rights, it does not have to be adversarial and I hope in most cases we reach a sensible adult decision where both sides are happy and can move forward,” she added.
How can we help
At Pearson Solicitors, our family and divorce solicitors work closely with our financial advisers to help and advise. We can organise the sale of any property through our residential conveyancing department. Our private client department is more than happy to arrange any changes needed to your Wills and or Lasting Powers of Attorney.
If you are considering a divorce or separation and need some legal advice on what to do with your pension or simply need advice on your finances and divorce, call 0161 785 3500 or email email@example.comSubscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.