The effect of divorce and separation on women

The Chartered Insurance Institute has provided an interim report on the risk, exposure and resilience to risk for women in Britain today. The interim report is a wide ranging document that addresses risks to women’s education, work, family life and health and includes a detailed analysis on the risks posed to women from and effect of divorce and separation.

The report comments that around 115,000 couples divorce every year, and almost half of these have a child under 16. This contributes to the 2.9 million lone parent families in the UK, 86% of which are headed by a female, lone parent.

The report observes the rising trend for divorce, which has increased significantly in recent decades. Divorce and separation have a negative financial and wellbeing effect for both men and women, but can pose particular risks to women. Women who are divorced or separated more frequently have lower levels of savings than their male counterparts, and the average divorced woman has less than a third of the pension wealth of the average divorced man.

1 in 3 (32%) of those married in 1998 had divorced by their 15th wedding anniversary, compared with just 1 in 5 (20%) of those who had married in 1968. The average age for a woman to divorce is 42.6 compared with 45.1 for men. As the average age of marriage increases, so too does the average age of divorce, with an increasing number of relationships breaking down as couples reach their 50s: the so-called ‘silver splitters’. Only the over 50s have seen an increase in the divorce rate for men and women since 2003.

CII further states women separating from their partners at this later stage in their careers are at particular risk, as they do not have many working years left to build up an independent savings pot or pension, and they are more likely to be living with their children. The average age of divorce also coincides with the divergence of men and women’s earnings after children, meaning divorced women may face multiple disadvantages in accumulating savings. Although married women are generally entitled to a pension sharing order upon divorce, women without appropriate legal advice are particularly vulnerable to being left without protection. The average woman who expects to rely on a partner for income in retirement has just £8,335 in pension wealth, leaving her open to financial hardship, together with further adverse effect of relationship break down.

Serving London, Bedford and the surrounding villages, our lawyers can help you with your divorce and family law matters. If you would like to speak to one of our solicitors to discuss your case, contact us today on 0207 177 9777 or 01234 889777.



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