Why Ignoring Pensions in Divorce Can Be Costly

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Why Ignoring Pensions in Divorce Can Be Costly

By Isabel Gillman on November 30, 2023

why 33% of people do not include pensions in divorce

The Overlooked Asset: Why Ignoring Pensions in Divorce Can Be Costly

 

Divorce is a complex and emotional process, and it’s common for couples to focus on the immediate issues at hand, such as property division and custody arrangements. However, a startling fact has emerged that underscores a significant oversight in many divorce proceedings: 33% of couples did not obtain a financial order and in 2022, 67% of divorcing couples omitted pensions from their divorce settlements.

The Underestimated Value of Pensions

Pensions are often one of the most valuable assets in a marriage, yet they are frequently overlooked or undervalued during divorce negotiations. This oversight can lead to significant financial disparities, especially for the spouse who might have taken career breaks or worked part-time to care for family, thus accumulating less in their pension.

The Long-term Impact of Neglecting Pensions

The consequences of not addressing pensions in a divorce can be far-reaching. For many, pensions are a key component of retirement planning. Ignoring this asset can result in an unfair division of resources, potentially impacting one’s financial security in later years.

Why Are Pensions Often Overlooked?

1. Complexity: Understanding and valuing pensions can be complex. Many couples, and sometimes even legal advisors, may not fully grasp how to approach this issue.

2. Immediate Concerns: Couples often prioritise immediate assets like homes or savings accounts, overlooking long-term considerations like pensions.

3. Lack of Awareness: There’s a general lack of awareness about the importance of including pensions in financial settlements.

The Importance of Obtaining a Financial Order

A financial order legally separates the financial affairs of a couple, ensuring a fair distribution of assets, including pensions. Without this, either party can make financial claims in the future, leading to legal complications and potential financial loss.

Case Studies: The Cost of Neglect

Consider the stories of those who learned the hard way. John, for instance, neglected to claim a share of his ex-wife’s pension. Years later, he faced financial struggles in retirement, while his ex-wife enjoyed a comfortable pension income. Similarly, Sarah overlooked her entitled share of her husband’s pension, focusing only on immediate assets, which later affected her retirement plans.

Steps to Protect Your Interests

1. Seek Professional Advice: Consult with a financial advisor or a solicitor who specialises in divorce to understand the value of pensions in your case.

2. Insist on a Financial Order:Ensure that all assets, including pensions, are accounted for in the divorce settlement.

3. Educate Yourself:Understand the types of pensions involved and how they can be divided or shared.

Don’t Leave Your Future to Chance

The data is clear: neglecting pensions in divorce can have lasting consequences. As part of a balanced approach to divorce settlements, it’s crucial to consider all assets, especially pensions, to safeguard your financial future. Don’t be part of the statistic; ensure your peace of mind by addressing every aspect of your shared assets, for a fair and secure tomorrow.

 

This article aims to raise awareness and encourage thoughtful consideration of all assets during divorce proceedings. If you would like bespoke advice about the topic of this article please contact one of our team.

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