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Tina Shah

The pension gender gap and divorce

22 February 2024

New research has highlighted how the gender pension gap disproportionately affects women. On average men retire with a pension pot of £250,000 whilst women retire with pensions of £69,000. This is largely due to the higher rates of women working part-time and the gender pay gap. To match men’s average pension provision women would need to work an additional 19 years before retirement.

The gap can become even more pronounced when pensions are not discussed during divorce proceedings.

It is important to seek legal advice before agreeing to any settlement with your spouse.

At Neves, we sometimes find that women choose to ignore claims against their spouse’s pension or ‘offset’ the value of pensions to retain the family home. On occasion, this can be a sensible approach but women must be aware of the pension share they are giving up. This could leave women at a financial disadvantage and risk of poverty in retirement.

The law often looks towards achieving equality of income on retirement and it is important that women consider the impact this would have in later life, otherwise, they are at risk of trading a long-term guaranteed income for short-term stability.

Where combined pension assets are worth in excess of £100,000 the Pensions Advisory Guidance on divorce states that advice from a Pension on Divorce Expert should be obtained.  The cost of involving an expert can put some couples off but often the cost is outweighed by the long-term benefit. The Courts will not simply approve an agreement that has been reached between a couple without being satisfied that it is fair to each party both now and in the future.

We can work alongside specialist financial advisors, pension experts or divorce accountants who can support you to ensure you are considering not just your current financial position, but what the future will look like for you over both the medium and long term.

At Neves, we offer a 60-minute initial fixed fee consultation which will enable you to obtain that all important advice to help you make decisions that are right for you. Get in touch with a member of our Family Law team by calling 0330 0945 500, emailing or completing our Contact Form and we'll get back to you.

Source of research - Pensions Policy Institute

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