No-Fault Divorces could lead to future Pension Poverty as Financial Arrangements are often overlooked, warn solicitors.

‘No-fault’ divorce rules came into effect on 6th April 2022, allowing separating couples to bring their marriage to an end without the need for a ‘blame game’ situation.

This hopefully leads to an amicable separation and, if applicable, both parties can focus on other priorities such as arrangements over the children, living arrangements and the potential sale of the matrimonial home. We would always advise that you seek legal advice when finalising these arrangements so that everything is above board.

There is a general misconception that once the Final Order (formerly known as a Decree Absolute) has been issued, this naturally severs any financial ties such as bank accounts, loans, maintenance, and pensions. This is not the case and comes with a word of warning.

A divorce only ends the marriage. It is a Financial Order that brings closure to any financial ties as without such, an ex-spouse can legally make a claim against your finances further down the line as they are deemed a matrimonial asset.

Another misconception is the value of the matrimonial home which is often seen as the biggest asset however, many divorcing couples underestimate the true value of pension wealth. It is fair to say that many people may not want to ‘rock the boat’ or feel they are too young to be looking at an effective way of sharing pensions which is why you should seek legal advice to ensure you are getting what is due. In many cases, the pension value could be significantly higher than the matrimonial home.

As Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb warns:
“One group currently at high risk of retirement poverty is divorced women. In large part, this is because relatively little attention is often given at the time of divorce to a financial settlement, which gives proper weight to pension wealth.”

Finance and Divorce specialist Lucinda McWatt at Pearson advises:
“The divorce side of matters is now easier and we have reduced our fees to reflect the simplified process. We would however advise against going it alone online, your solicitor has experience and a knowledge of the timelines and final dates for submitting the Financial Order which must be satisfied by the court for it to become legally binding.”

“Regardless of gender, I advise my clients to go through individual and joint finances so that a Financial Order can be drawn up to avoid any future claims against their finances, these can include future lottery wins and inheritances, but my goal is to ensure a fair distribution of pension wealth to avoid pension poverty in the future.”

Why Choose Pearson?
Our experienced divorce and family law solicitors will ensure you receive the best legal advice no matter how complicated your case may be.  Family Law Solicitor Lucinda McWatt is an accredited Resolution specialist in Complex Financial Provision on Divorce and Dissolution of Civil Partnerships who will guide you through the process and ensure you get the clean break you need.