Silver separators (over 55’s) divorce

Table of Contents

A ‘silver separator’ is the term given to people who choose to divorce in later life.

Silver separators are on the rise. Research provided by the ONS reveals that in England and Wales over a ten-year period, the number of men divorcing aged 65 and over went up by 23% and the number of women of the same age divorcing increased by 38%.

Divorce can be difficult at any age, however, there are additional areas of consideration that need to be made where one of the parties involved is either approaching retirement age or already into retirement.  

Things to consider in a later life divorce:

Where you are looking at a divorce upon or just prior to your retirement, you are likely to have more complex financial needs to consider due to the length of marriage, assets that you have acquired during your marriage and a more limited earning capacity potential. 

Issues that need to be paid particular attention include:

  • Your earning capacity and potential change in income upon retirement
  • Your reduced mortgage capacity due to your age
  • A division of a family home which is either mortgage free or close to being mortgage free
  • A revaluation of your retirement plans
  • How sharing your pension/ drawing down you pension may affect you
  • Tax implications on moving out of the matrimonial home
  • Income disparities between you and your spouse e.g if one retired and one not
  • Funding and acknowledging the cost of future care
  • Updating of your Will/ LPA(s)
  • Funding your future home (house price, stamp duty, conveyancing costs, bills etc).
  • Any dependants whom rely on you

Sharing a pension

Statistics show that only 12% of couples factor in their pensions when they are dividing their assets. Yet often the pension is the largest asset a person owns; if this is not factored in as part of financial order proceedings, it can lead to serious consequences later in life, especially for women. 

Typically, due to the gender pension gap a woman could typically see a £78,000 shortfall in retirement savings compared to their male counterpart. As women typically tend to live to an older age than males, this pension gap could leave woman short of much-needed income.

At Ansham White we work alongside third-party financial advisors and actuaries to assist our clients with all your finance and pension needs in one place. If you have your own financial advisor, we are also more than happy to liaise with them to help you get the best result possible. 

There are various types of pensions with a range of benefits and terms. As such, pensions can be shared based on the total value of the pension pot or the income received from it. When into retirement age, it is common practice to split the pensions based on income, however, prior to this time, often a share based on total pension pot value will be provided. 

From the age of 55, you may receive greater pension freedoms which could involve you being given an additional 20% of the value of the money you put into a SIPP from the government or being able to draw down 20% of your pension tax free (for further information as to your eligibility to this, you will need to seek independent financial advice).  

If one of you has drawn your pension and the other has not, this can create an income gap. In these circumstances, there may be a few options available to you including continuing/resuming employment, deferring the share of the pension or further drawing down your pension.

Please also note that a basic state pension cannot be split or shared on divorce, rather, only an additional state pension or the protected payment element of the new state pension can be shared.

Where you hold a pension outside of the United Kingdom, these pensions cannot be subject to an English court order so further considerations may be required. 

Unmarried couples

It is a myth that people living together who are unmarried are treated as “common law spouses” and thus have the same rights in a divorce. Rather, it is important to acknowledge that partners do not automatically have any rights to claims for shared assets unless you have drafted a cohabitation agreement.

Therefore, in this scenario, it is particularly important that if you are an older couple, you protect your own interests by entering into a cohabitation agreement; this is something that Ansham White can draft for you.




A ‘silver separator’ is the term given to people who choose to divorce in later life.

Silver separators are on the rise. Research provided by the ONS reveals that in England and Wales over a ten-year period, the number of men divorcing aged 65 and over went up by 23% and the number of women of the same age divorcing increased by 38%.

Divorce can be difficult at any age, however, there are additional areas of consideration that need to be made where one of the parties involved is either approaching retirement age or already into retirement.  

Things to consider in a later life divorce:

Where you are looking at a divorce upon or just prior to your retirement, you are likely to have more complex financial needs to consider due to the length of marriage, assets that you have acquired during your marriage and a more limited earning capacity potential. 

Issues that need to be paid particular attention include:

  • Your earning capacity and potential change in income upon retirement
  • Your reduced mortgage capacity due to your age
  • A division of a family home which is either mortgage free or close to being mortgage free
  • A revaluation of your retirement plans
  • How sharing your pension/ drawing down you pension may affect you
  • Tax implications on moving out of the matrimonial home
  • Income disparities between you and your spouse e.g if one retired and one not
  • Funding and acknowledging the cost of future care
  • Updating of your Will/ LPA(s)
  • Funding your future home (house price, stamp duty, conveyancing costs, bills etc).
  • Any dependants whom rely on you

Sharing a pension

Statistics show that only 12% of couples factor in their pensions when they are dividing their assets. Yet often the pension is the largest asset a person owns; if this is not factored in as part of financial order proceedings, it can lead to serious consequences later in life, especially for women. 

Typically, due to the gender pension gap a woman could typically see a £78,000 shortfall in retirement savings compared to their male counterpart. As women typically tend to live to an older age than males, this pension gap could leave woman short of much-needed income.

At Ansham White we work alongside third-party financial advisors and actuaries to assist our clients with all your finance and pension needs in one place. If you have your own financial advisor, we are also more than happy to liaise with them to help you get the best result possible. 

There are various types of pensions with a range of benefits and terms. As such, pensions can be shared based on the total value of the pension pot or the income received from it. When into retirement age, it is common practice to split the pensions based on income, however, prior to this time, often a share based on total pension pot value will be provided. 

From the age of 55, you may receive greater pension freedoms which could involve you being given an additional 20% of the value of the money you put into a SIPP from the government or being able to draw down 20% of your pension tax free (for further information as to your eligibility to this, you will need to seek independent financial advice).  

If one of you has drawn your pension and the other has not, this can create an income gap. In these circumstances, there may be a few options available to you including continuing/resuming employment, deferring the share of the pension or further drawing down your pension.

Please also note that a basic state pension cannot be split or shared on divorce, rather, only an additional state pension or the protected payment element of the new state pension can be shared.

Where you hold a pension outside of the United Kingdom, these pensions cannot be subject to an English court order so further considerations may be required. 

Unmarried couples

It is a myth that people living together who are unmarried are treated as “common law spouses” and thus have the same rights in a divorce. Rather, it is important to acknowledge that partners do not automatically have any rights to claims for shared assets unless you have drafted a cohabitation agreement.

Therefore, in this scenario, it is particularly important that if you are an older couple, you protect your own interests by entering into a cohabitation agreement; this is something that Ansham White can draft for you.




A ‘silver separator’ is the term given to people who choose to divorce in later life.

Silver separators are on the rise. Research provided by the ONS reveals that in England and Wales over a ten-year period, the number of men divorcing aged 65 and over went up by 23% and the number of women of the same age divorcing increased by 38%.

Divorce can be difficult at any age, however, there are additional areas of consideration that need to be made where one of the parties involved is either approaching retirement age or already into retirement.  

Things to consider in a later life divorce:

Where you are looking at a divorce upon or just prior to your retirement, you are likely to have more complex financial needs to consider due to the length of marriage, assets that you have acquired during your marriage and a more limited earning capacity potential. 

Issues that need to be paid particular attention include:

  • Your earning capacity and potential change in income upon retirement
  • Your reduced mortgage capacity due to your age
  • A division of a family home which is either mortgage free or close to being mortgage free
  • A revaluation of your retirement plans
  • How sharing your pension/ drawing down you pension may affect you
  • Tax implications on moving out of the matrimonial home
  • Income disparities between you and your spouse e.g if one retired and one not
  • Funding and acknowledging the cost of future care
  • Updating of your Will/ LPA(s)
  • Funding your future home (house price, stamp duty, conveyancing costs, bills etc).
  • Any dependants whom rely on you

Sharing a pension

Statistics show that only 12% of couples factor in their pensions when they are dividing their assets. Yet often the pension is the largest asset a person owns; if this is not factored in as part of financial order proceedings, it can lead to serious consequences later in life, especially for women. 

Typically, due to the gender pension gap a woman could typically see a £78,000 shortfall in retirement savings compared to their male counterpart. As women typically tend to live to an older age than males, this pension gap could leave woman short of much-needed income.

At Ansham White we work alongside third-party financial advisors and actuaries to assist our clients with all your finance and pension needs in one place. If you have your own financial advisor, we are also more than happy to liaise with them to help you get the best result possible. 

There are various types of pensions with a range of benefits and terms. As such, pensions can be shared based on the total value of the pension pot or the income received from it. When into retirement age, it is common practice to split the pensions based on income, however, prior to this time, often a share based on total pension pot value will be provided. 

From the age of 55, you may receive greater pension freedoms which could involve you being given an additional 20% of the value of the money you put into a SIPP from the government or being able to draw down 20% of your pension tax free (for further information as to your eligibility to this, you will need to seek independent financial advice).  

If one of you has drawn your pension and the other has not, this can create an income gap. In these circumstances, there may be a few options available to you including continuing/resuming employment, deferring the share of the pension or further drawing down your pension.

Please also note that a basic state pension cannot be split or shared on divorce, rather, only an additional state pension or the protected payment element of the new state pension can be shared.

Where you hold a pension outside of the United Kingdom, these pensions cannot be subject to an English court order so further considerations may be required. 

Unmarried couples

It is a myth that people living together who are unmarried are treated as “common law spouses” and thus have the same rights in a divorce. Rather, it is important to acknowledge that partners do not automatically have any rights to claims for shared assets unless you have drafted a cohabitation agreement.

Therefore, in this scenario, it is particularly important that if you are an older couple, you protect your own interests by entering into a cohabitation agreement; this is something that Ansham White can draft for you.

 

Related Services

Recent Articles

Adopting a child

In order to legally adopt a child, you must apply for an adoption order. This transfers parental responsibility from one person to another. You can

Read More »