Royal London comments on today’s divorce figures and pension assets

by | Feb 22, 2024

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Clare Moffat, pensions and legal expert at Royal London has commented on the latest figures on divorces in England and Wales, published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

She said: “The latest figures for divorces in England and Wales are down by nearly a third (29.5% decrease compared to 2021). The sharp fall in divorces granted in 2022 may have been affected by the new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act, which introduced changes including allowing couples to end a partnership jointly, and the removal of grounds for divorce.

“Because separation is an emotionally and financially traumatic time, many aspects of a couple’s finances can be overlooked, particularly pensions. However, failing to consider pension savings when splitting assets during a break-up could have an enormous impact on the future financial resilience of individuals.

 
 

“Another reason for the decrease in divorce is that marriage is in steady decline, with couples opting to cohabit instead. This brings additional challenges as there are limited legal rights when a cohabiting relationship ends.

“However, when it comes to financial security, the decision not to walk down the aisle can end up costing one partner, usually the female, heavily in the event of separation.

“The impact on retirement plans of a relationship ending can be particularly difficult for women who, partly due to career breaks and lower average salaries, typically build up lower pension pots. 

 
 

“Taking financial and legal advice on divorce is crucial. For those who aren’t married or in a civil partnership, taking legal advice at the beginning of a relationship could be important too.”

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