Navigating divorce later in life

by Kidd Rapinet on June 25, 2024

The term “silver separator” or “grey divorce” relates to a growing number of older adults getting divorced.

Navigating divorce can be challenging when you’re older, especially for those who are nearing retirement age. There are extra factors to take into account for individuals in this age group. The process of getting a divorce remains the same, regardless of the duration of your marriage or your age, but it’s crucial to carefully consider and plan for the significant financial impact on you and your family.

If you’re seeking a divorce after a lengthy marriage you may need to consider your accumulation of assets over the years:

  • Is the family home almost paid off or mortgage-free?
  • Whether your ability to secure a mortgage has decreased or expired due to your age?
  • What your retirement plans are?
  • What are your pension options and how would you like to distribute this asset?
  • Are there any adult children who continue to live in the family home and/or require financial support from you?
  • Are there any tax implications in respect of any investments you have?
  • Is there an income disparity between you and your former partner, for example, one of you may have adjusted your working life to accommodate caring for children/grandchildren?
  • Are there going to be any potential costs associated with your future care, your Will and inheritance planning?

You will also need to consider the following questions:

  • Where would you like to live?
  • When do you want to retire?
  • What income do you require in order to meet your needs?

If you are considering a divorce or separation, you must have all relevant financial information from your former partner to enable you to obtain legal and financial advice on the best options for you, your circumstances and your family.

The following information will therefore be necessary for the purposes of negotiating a financial settlement:

  • A valuation of your property
  • Your income from all sources
  • An expenditure budget
  • Details of all investments
  • Bank accounts and savings
  • Pension valuation

Why are pensions crucial to consider when you are over 60 and divorcing?

Pensions are typically a substantial asset and should be carefully considered as one approaches retirement age. Due to the variety of pension plans and their varying terms and benefits, they are a complicated topic.

Pensions can be divided in a number of ways, although as retirement age approaches, it is particularly prudent to equalise the retirement income. It is also important to consider if your former partner has already commuted a 25% tax free lump sum as this will prevent you from doing so, even if you get a share of their pension.

There may be a discrepancy in income if one of you is drawing a pension and still working. You will need to consider all options such as whether you need to work longer than initially intended, making greater pension contributions and postponing your retirement age.

What do you need to know about State Pensions if divorcing later in life?

It’s critical to not overlook your state pension. Upon divorce, the basic state pension cannot be divided or shared. The protected payment component of the new state pension or the increased state pension, however, may be shared. If your former partner’s pension is located outside of the UK, you will need to explore whether you can still secure a pension share over it.

Investing in an actuarial report on pension sharing is often a prudent course of action and is recommended by the Pensions Advisory Group when the pension is worth more than £100,000. You may make decisions that best safeguard your retirement income and plans by using the report’s analysis of all pensions, including the state pension, and advice on the best ways to share or offset your pension.

How can an agreement be reached when divorcing later in life?

When divorcing, there are multiple ways to come to a financial settlement. It may be possible for you to come to a direct agreement, or your solicitor can engage in negotiations on your behalf.  Alternatively, mediation is a very helpful tool that involves using a neutral third party with professional training to help you facilitate an agreement. If all else fails, you may need to apply to the court, whereupon a Judge will make a decision on your behalf.

This article was brought to you by Kidd Rapinet’s family solicitors. You can book an appointment with any of the family lawyers across our other offices in Aylesbury, Canary Wharf, Farnham, High Wycombe, Maidenhead or Slough, using the form provided.  Please use the links provided to find more information on divorce or separation, child arrangements and other areas of family law.

These materials and content have been prepared for the benefit of their viewers/readers. They are intended for marketing purposes only and are of a general nature and do not constitute legal advice applicable to any particular facts or circumstances. Kidd Rapinet LLP and/or the author(s) accept no duty of care, responsibility or liability for any loss or damage which you or any third party may suffer as a result of any reliance or use by you or them of these marketing materials and content, except to the extent it is not legally possible to exclude such liability. If you require legal advice on your own situation, please contact us so we can discuss how we may assist.


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