In a number of cases, the value of one partners pension may far outweigh the value of properties, land and other assets. It is quite concerning that often couples will overlook their pensions when distributing marital assets on divorce.
There are a number of reasons why couples may overlook pensions on divorce. These include:
The value of some pensions, particularly for people working in the public sector, can be staggering. A good, sizable pension pot allows people the freedom to retire when they want to and enjoy the latter stages of life.
The research from MICRA identifies stark differences between the value of pension wealth between men and women. Many women, as identified in the research, have significantly smaller pension pots than men. The research calculated the following:
''Married men aged 45-54 have a median pension wealth of about £86,000 compared with £40,000 for women; those aged 55-64 have a median £185,000 compared with £55,800 for women; and those in the 65-69 age range have median pension wealth just over £260,000, compared to £28,000 for married women.''
If pensions are ignored, this could significantly prejudice women in reaching a fair and equitable financial settlement. In turn, this could impact their financial security both now and later in life.
Before taking any steps to divide your matrimonial assets, it is important to speak to a specialist about the process. To assist these discussions, you should obtain a recent valuation of your pension. As family lawyers, we can advise you on the divorce and financial remedy process including the court's approach to pensions.
In many cases, we will advise that additional advice be sought from a pension actuary. They will be able to calculate how yours and your partners pensions can be divided to achieve equality of income or capital (where appropriate). We can identify an appropriate pension actuary, prepare their instructions and support you with understanding the implications of their calculations.