Jacqueline Major, Head of the Family team at Hodge, Jones & Allen, said in a press release that she often overhears people talking about divorce. “It’s one of those things that people think they know all about, but if they come to experience it first-hand, they soon discover that much of what they believed was in fact not true.” It’s hard to prepare yourself for something as big as divorce, so here are some statistics, facts and misconceptions set straight to help you gain a better understanding of just what it is you’re going through.
1. ‘Irreconcilable differences’ are not grounds to divorce in England and Wales.
Although Brangelina are reported to be divorcing on these grounds, it is not possible to do so here. Instead, you must show that the marriage has broken down and rely on one of the following five facts in support: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, 2 years’ separation (with your spouse’s consent), 2 years’ desertion or 5 years’ separation. This means that if you’re divorcing after less than 2 years of separation, even if the split is amicable, someone still must be ‘blamed’ in the divorce petition.
2. Divorcees risk a big hit to their pension income.
Research from Prudential shows divorced retirees can expect to receive over £2000 less per year. Its recent retirement survey shows that those who have gone through at least one divorce can expect an annual retirement income of £15,700, versus £17,800 a year for those who have never divorced.
3. Adultery does not result in someone getting everything.
If your spouse cheated, it does not make a different to how your assets will be divided. You must also be married for at least a year before you are able to petition for divorce.
4. Pensions are a huge part of overall household wealth.
Pensions may account for more of household wealth than a property. From July 2012 to June 2014, private pension wealth accounted for 40% on average of overall household wealth, compared to 35% for property. Read more here.
5. Pensions becoming a larger part of overall household wealth.
From July 2012 to June 2014, aggregate total household wealth of all private households in Great Britain was £11.1 trillion – an 18% increase from the preceding two-year period. The lion’s share of the increase is attributable to an increase in private pension wealth. Read more here.
6. Effect is strongest among the wealthiest.
98% of those households in the top decile for wealth had private pensions. The median value of private pension wealth for these households was £749,000. Read more here.
7. Pre-nuptials aren’t legally binding.
Unless the agreement was properly drawn-up, and shows that both you and your partner obtained separate legal advice prior to the signing of the pre-nuptial agreement. It should also disclose both parties’ assents and income, and must be completed at least 3 weeks before the marriage. Also, the court can always take changes that occur in the parties’ lives, from materialistic to financial occurrences, into account.
For more information, check out our Distressed Divorcer pages.