Pensions and divorce: Women missing out on £5 billion every year

3 November 2017

Women going through divorce could be missing out on up to £5 billion every year because they don’t discuss pensions during the process.

Pensions provider Scottish Widows has found that seven in 10 couples going through divorce proceedings don’t consider the division of pensions. This could amount to as much as £5 billion a year that divorced women are missing out on. One in 10 divorced women go on to be completely reliant on a state pension for income.

The research also found that more than half of married people (56%) would fight to get a fair share of property, and one in three (36%) would look to evenly divide savings.

Bizarrely, more people seem concerned about losing a pet (13%) than sharing a pension (9%).

According to Scottish Widows, the potential losses for women are down to the fact that women on are generally less well prepared for retirement than men. Only just over half (52%) of women think they are saving adequately for retirement compared to 59% of men.

Nigel Shepherd, head of family law at national firm Mills & Reeve, says: “Pension sharing was introduced almost two decades ago, but all too often in a divorce pensions are still not being considered properly, or at all.

“The problem has been made very much worse by the fact that so few people are now entitled to legal aid, and are having to negotiate the minefield of financial issues on divorce without even basic legal advice. This is storing up real problems down the line, in particular for women.

“While some pensions are relatively straightforward, others (for example public sector schemes) are complex. There is no substitute for expert legal and financial advice and the costs involved should be considered an investment.”

Plan for your future, married, divorced or otherwise

Divorce can be a tricky topic, and many people are quick to dismiss the possibility of it happening. And as the research shows, when divorce does happen, women are rarely properly informed or prepared on how to deal with their pension entitlements.

Catherine Stewart, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, says: “Women’s retirement prospects are worse than men’s. The persistent gender pay gap, maternity leave and career breaks can all hold back women’s earning potential and this often impacts pension savings. Relationship breakdowns can leave people vulnerable but, quite simply, they’re also throwing significant sums of money down the drain.

“It is important that everyone – whether single, married or divorced – take steps to understand their finances and prepare for their independent future should a relationship break down. We would urge men and women to better understand the legalities around what happens to pension pots during divorce proceedings, as often they are the second largest, if not the largest asset a couple owns.”


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I find it very odd that any lawyer dealing with a divorce would not take one of the potentially greatest assets into account how is that possible?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

My husband ran away from our matrimonial home and left me and our 3kids and run after another woman with two kids without a husband. and started to live with her, as her husband and a father to the children that are not his of his flesh and blood. He abandoned us almost a year without a dime from him. Ever since he left, no news from him, he doesn't even call to ask of his kids not to talk of hearing my voice. And at times I called, he holds my call and times he won't even answer. I have been struggling for our children education and to feed and it has really not been easy for me. It got to a time that we hardly feed a day as I don't have a good job and i've been struggling, praying, and waiting for his return till jai Maa Sunlight came to my rescue. She is indeed a mother because she was able to see the pains and agony I was going through. And when she told me you will have him back, I did not doubt it. Infact.. I want more of her words because it makes me strong and also bring back my dead hope back to life. I was gingered up, and I became desperate to know what must be done because I knew something must have to be done spiritually so I can have him back. And then again she replied and asked of his name, and picture and told me the amount the spell would cost. I provided everything in a hurry just like I knew it...that Maa Sunlight was my last bus stop for the solution of my problems. After the casting the spell, jai mata sunlight told me to bath without soap and sponge. I did." the next morning, behold brethren... my husband came in a hurry wearing an overall like he just woke up. He came and lie down holding my legs for forgiveness. Infact, I was too shut to say word. Because everything happens too fast just like a dream. So I as a woman who needs her husband back I wanted to know if it was for real so I pretend like what any other woman who would have husband to treat her like a baby. After a while I held him, kissed him, and I forgive him. That was how we settled and that was how I got my man back. I really, really thank mother Sunlight for her goodness, and kindness. For helping me solve my problems that no one...even my father couldn't help me. And so I am glad and indeed filled with joy and happiness sharing you this testimony because I want you to know that you are not alone.there is help for you in any of the problems you might be facing. All you need to do is contact with your story. Don't just share and leave. She won't help you that way. Wait to receive your own testimonies and as you do follow her instructions, she will help you and restore back whatever you might have lost in the past. I thank once again mother Sunlight. I give praise. and my special thanks to God for linking me to a true goddess that you are because I was not been deceived. As I know there are people out there who only cares about your money not to help solve your problems. Thanks to you Maa Sunlight for being truthful to me and anyone else. Indeed, you are worthy been the queen of the universe, mother of the world. Thanks to you.

In reply to by Nick Bamford (not verified)

Hi Nick, thank you for your question. We sought an answer and Nigel Shepherd, head of family law at Mills & Reeve comments:

"Where a family lawyer is engaged, they will of course enquire about all available assets, including pensions. However, many divorcing couples are forced through lack of funds to proceed without legal advice, which is probably the explanation behind the finding that so few discuss pensions when negotiating a divorce settlement. 

"This is especially borne out by the statistic that half of women (48%) have no idea what happens to pensions after divorce and less than one in 10 (9%) married people would want a fair share of pensions if they were to divorce. This not only demonstrates the fact that often people underestimate the importance of pensions as an asset, but also underlines the importance of seeking professional legal and often financial advice."

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