An increasing number of over 65s are divorcing, in contrast with the overall falling divorce rate.
The rise is partly attributable to longer life expectancies and looks set to continue as a quarter of the population will be 65 by 2031. Other reasons include the lack of stigma now attached to divorce and greater financial independence for women.
Over 65s are often in good health and without the responsibilities of work or children. Some regard it as an opportune time to divorce without complications. However, it is still important to seek specialist advice.
In many cases, pensions will be the main source of income. The Basic State Pension cannot be shared on divorce, but Additional State Pension can be subject to a Pension Sharing Order as can occupational and personal pensions even when in payment.
With a long marriage, the starting point is usually an equal division of the assets. With pensions, this can be achieved by a Pension Sharing Order which results in each party having the same income from all pension provision. Another option is offsetting, where one party takes other assets in lieu of pension sharing.
Before reaching any settlement, each party needs to provide the other with full details of their financial circumstances including pension values. The recipient of a Pension Sharing Order will either become a member of the pension scheme or their part of their share, known as a credit, will be transferred to their chosen scheme. They will have control over this pension which will not be affected by their ex-spouses decisions or death.