Silver Separators – things to consider

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

There are an increasing number of couples in their 60’s and upwards who find themselves embarking on single life. Statistics show that the average age at which people divorce has risen over time, and this seems to be down to a couple of different reasons. It’s partly because the average age that people get married has increased, but there has also been a rise of “empty nesters”, who have stayed together for the sake of their children.

So what does this mean for those people who find themselves starting over again? Here are some key issues to keep in mind:

Don’t forget the pension

Many people disregard their significant other’s pension in exchange for being able to keep more of the equity in their property. Whilst this may seem a good idea in the short term, it’s important to consider the longer term impact. What will happen when you retire? Your ex-spouse may have a healthy pension income whilst you are left to manage on a state pension.

A pension sharing order can rectify this by transferring some of your spouse’s pension into a pension pot of your own. Depending on what you do with it, it may produce a lump sum, an income in retirement, or a combination of the two. Good financial advice is crucial to help you work out how the available options might suit your circumstances.

The house is not the be all and all

It might cause you distress to consider a sale of your family home, especially if you’ve lived there for a considerable amount of time. However, it’s best to keep an open mind, as it might be a good option if you need to free up capital. A move may also open different opportunities for you, both socially and emotionally, especially if you associate the house with unhappy memories.

It is important to consider your future needs. Will having significant cash sums in a bank account leave you liable to care home fees? Or is it better tied up in a house or pension? Appropriate financial advice will help determine this.

Spousal maintenance

This has had a lot of bad press recently, with the media hype calling it a “meal ticket for life”. Whilst this is falling out of favour with the courts, there are specific cases where the courts cannot ignore the importance of ongoing financial support.

It is true that awards for lifetime spousal maintenance are very hard to come by, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to some form of maintenance if your spouse has a significantly higher income. Many people find themselves in a position where the husband has worked during the marriage and the wife sacrificed her career to focus on the family. In these situations, the wife may face a significant loss of income on divorce, especially if there is a period between separation and any pension pay-out, so maintenance may be appropriate to bridge the gap.

Update your will

Divorce affects inheritance, so it’s essential that you regularly review your will. You may have appointed your spouse as an executor/beneficiary of your estate, which on decree absolute becomes void. This could result in you being considered intestate and the law dictating who inherits, rather than you having the choice. 

These are just a number of things that should be considered, but this list is by no means exhaustive. If you would like any further help or advice on what to do in the event of a marital breakdown, contact the Coffin Mew Family team.