As the world celebrated International Women’s Day, it is important to consider the continuing issue of pension asset disparity between men and women in the UK. It is a significant issue that affects millions of women in the UK and further afield, especially those who have taken a career break to raise a family, support a partner or care for relatives.
Pension asset disparity
According to recent studies, women in the UK are still far behind men when it comes to pension savings. On average, women have around 40% less pension wealth than men, and many women are at risk of poverty in retirement. There are several reasons for this disparity, including the gender pay gap, career breaks, and the fact that women often work in lower-paid jobs with fewer benefits.
One of the main reasons for the pension gap is that women often take career breaks to have children or care for elderly relatives. During this time, they may not be able to contribute to a pension scheme or may only be able to make small contributions, which can significantly impact their retirement savings.
Moreover, even when women do return to work, they may not be able to catch up with their male counterparts in terms of pension savings having had less time to increase their earnings and pension contributions.
Pension rights and divorce
Another factor contributing to the pension gap is the lack of awareness and understanding of pension rights, especially among women who are going through a divorce. In many cases, women who have gone through a divorce may not be aware that they are entitled to a share of their ex-partner’s pension assets.
According to the law in England and Wales, pension assets are considered matrimonial assets and potentially subject to division during a divorce as part of a financial settlement. However, women often do not receive a fair share of pension assets during a divorce settlement, which can leave them at a significant disadvantage when it comes to retirement savings, this can be due to a lack of awareness or having not received legal advice during the divorce process.
Pension sharing on divorce
Pension sharing on divorce can help to address this issue by ensuring that both parties receive a fair share of the pension assets accumulated during the marriage and ensure their needs on retirement are appropriately provided for. This can be done by either dividing the pension assets by way of pension sharing orders or by offsetting the value of the pension against other assets, such as property or savings.
If you have any further queries regarding pensions or divorce, please contact our Family Law team.