Month: November 2017

Divorced women lose out on £5bn in pension payments each year – make sure you’re not one of them!

Recent research conducted as part of the Scottish Widows’ annual Women and Retirement Report has found that 24% of divorced women are not currently contributing to a pension, while 71% of couples do not discuss pension arrangements during divorce proceedings.

One of the main reasons why pension experts consider that this is happening is there is a general lack of knowledge around the legal considerations of access to pensions during a divorce. The study showed that 48% of women admit they have no idea what happens to pensions upon divorce and only 22% said that they would even consider discussing pensions during separation.

Pension savings between separating couples can often be a sizeable asset in the matrimonial ‘pot’ and therefore it is vital that parties going through separation do not ignore pension funds during financial negotiation. Professional advice should be obtained from the outset in order to reduce the number of women with pensions disproportionately affected by divorce.

Catherine Stewart, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, has commented that women are generally less well-prepared for retirement due to factors such as the gender pay gap, maternity leave and career breaks. She has further recommended that women ‘invest some time and money in getting advice’ and stated that ‘by spending a little bit on advice to understand what’s best for them, it could actually be a good investment of their money’.

The options available to couples  in respect pension funds upon divorce are as follows:

  1. Offsetting – couples may agree to ‘offset’ the value of the pension against another asset, such as obtaining a greater share in the former matrimonial home.
  2. Attachment– a pension attachment order redirects part or all of a member’s pension benefits to their former partner when it comes into payment.
  3. Pension Sharing – this enables the court to share a pension at the time of divorce so that a percentage share of the member’s pension scheme is transferred into a pension scheme in the name of their former partner so that each party has a separate pension fund to which they can contribute in the future.

Dealing with pensions upon divorce can be complex. Please contact a member of our team today on 0161 927 3118 to discuss your situation.

The Biggest Myths About Adultery and Divorce

A divorce can only be obtained if one of five specific reasons are proven. One of the reasons is adultery yet how adultery is actually defined in law can lead to a great deal of confusion, myth and misinformation which can only add to the frustration and emotional turmoil.  

According to studies married men are statistically far more likely to stray than women with the former having a 50% of chance of engaging in an extra marital compared to 26% of women.    

Yet what might represent a bond broken and an irretrievable breakdown of trust for the person on the receiving end of their partner’s pursuit of relations outside of marriage may not be seen as one of the same in law.  

Contrary to popular belief, adultery doesn’t include all forms of sexual activity. In fact it only refers to full sexual intercourse between a man and a woman where one or both of those involved are married to other people. If the extra marital affair involves a same sex relationship then it doesn’t count.  

There are also cases where lesser forms of sexual gratification are deemed insufficient to be counted as adultery. Another misconception is that sexual intercourse with another person outside of marriage doesn’t count as adultery following separation when technically it does.  

If you require further advice on divorce law, please get in touch. 

How Long Does It Take To Divorce If A Couple Agree On Everything?

One of the most common questions asked about divorce is “how long will it take?”.  

Deciding to go through with a divorce and end a relationship is not an easy decision for most people. Often getting divorced can not only have an impact on the couple themselves but also on family and friends. The longer that relationship has been in place the more difficult it becomes to untangle all the links and move on to a new phase in life.  

Filing for divorce will in most cases mean all avenues will have been explored to save a relationship so naturally given what is at stake, one or both people in the relationship will be keen to get the process out of the way as soon as possible so that they can continue with their lives.  

Unfortunately, even if a couple is in agreement on everything, there is still a fairly lengthy period of time before a divorce is finalised. The good news is, however, timeframes have fallen a little in recent years following the introduction of regional divorce centres aimed at speeding things up. 

The average time taken for divorce in 2014 was 33 weeks, however this has now been reduced to between 22 and 24 weeks where both parties agree. You can expect the process to take a little longer of course, if both parties are not in agreement.