Pensions important in divorce cases

Wealthy couples who divorce hold more of their money in pension savings than any other asset, prompting concern that many people have little idea how splitting up could affect their retirement saving. Financial adviser Succession Wealth looked at couples with total wealth of more than £1m between them. The typical couple held 43% of this money in pension savings, against 31% in property wealth and only 20% in other financial assets.

When working out how to split a couple’s assets, divorce courts are required to take pension assets into account, including both benefits already in payment and savings for the future. Funds can be split, or their value can be offset against other assets in the divorce settlement. However, many couples don’t fully understand their options. Insurer Scottish Widows warned earlier this year that pensions are “fully discussed” in just 30% of cases, with 16% of women losing access to any pension fund after a split.