Earlier this year Royal London Insurance highlighted the pensions gender gap, and now research commissioned by Shoosmiths revealed that, if things do end up in divorce, a third of married couples and those in civil partnerships didn’t know that they were entitled to a proportion of their spouse’s pension if they split up.

1 in 5 couples Shoosmiths Family Law team surveyed had no idea what to expect when it comes to divorce, but with the gender inequality amongst pensions, it’s clear that women (especially those whose relationship has ended after taking a career break to start a family) are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to their long-term financial security.

Peter Morris, a partner at Shoosmiths who specialises in family law and divorce, and Clare Moffat, a pensions finance specialist with Royal London Insurance gave a series of interviews to radio stations across England and Wales on 17 October 2019 to discuss these latest Shoosmiths findings.

Listen to a ‘typical’ interview given by Peter and Clare:

When it comes to separation, more attention is paid to physical assets and the pension pot is often overlooked (not only by the parties themselves but often by their non-specialist lawyers) leaving many divorcees out of pocket when it comes to retirement.

Married couples, and those in civil partnerships are indeed entitled to a proportion of their spouse’s pension if they split up. While this is good news for those married women who have a minimal pension pot, Shoosmiths survey also revealed a chilling lack of awareness among cohabiting couples.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, cohabiting couples are the fastest growing family type. However, contrary to what many of those cohabitees we surveyed believed, there is no such thing in law as a ‘common law marriage’. Cohabitees are in fact entitled to nothing at all if they split up – unless they’ve taken legal advice at the outset, so they are aware of the practical steps they can take, such as making a will or a cohabitation agreement covering the arrangements for sharing each other’s property.

Click here to watch the video.