Divorced women’s pension wealth one third of married couples’

The average divorced woman over 50 has a pension wealth of £131,000 compared with £454,000 for the average married couple, new research from Royal London has found.

Its research also found that the average married couple over 50 has double the housing wealth of the average divorced woman of the same age.

The average married couple have housing wealth of £359,000, compared with £169,000 for divorced women.

This is in spite of major changes to legislation implemented in the early 2000’s designed to make it easier for couples to share pension rights.

Commenting on the report, Royal London director of policy, Steve Webb, said: “When couples split up there is an understandable focus on family issues and on highly visible assets such as the family home.

“But very often one partner will have pension rights which are less visible but can be just as valuable and people need to take expert financial advice on this crucial issue.

“For example, someone with long service in a final-salary type pension can have rights worth hundreds of thousands of pounds which can be a crucial part of a fair divorce settlement.”

Royal London’s report follows data from the charity Relate, which found that January is the ‘divorce month’, with a 24 per cent surge in inquiries reported this month each year from people with ‘relationship worries’.

It is encouraging divorcing couples to recognise the value of pension wealth and to take expert financial advice to ensure that divorced women do not continue to be short-changed.

Webb added: “Our research shows that the rules which allow for pension rights to be shared after a divorce are failing to deliver equality.

“Divorced women are ending up as the poor relations when it comes to pensions wealth in later life."

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