Silver Splitters Legal Advice on Getting a Divorce
The number of people getting a divorce past their 70s has increased by 50% since 2005. Although the law in England and Wales remains the same for all divorces no matter what age you are, there are often other factors you should consider before getting a silver divorce.
After sharing many years together, you and your partner may have a lifetime worth of assets. Getting a divorce means dividing the assets that you have always shared, which can be quite emotional for both of you. In addition to sharing assets, you might also need to think about:
- How you and your ex-partner will divide your pensions, especially if one of you has worked more than the other
- The impact of a divorce on Inheritance Tax
- Rewriting your Will
- Changing your Lasting Powers of Attorney
- If a separation could work better for you
- Any care fees you might need to pay for in the future
Usually getting divorced later in life often means there are no child arrangements to think about, but it doesn’t mean that the divorce process is always easier. Using a Divorce Solicitor will help to take the emotions out of the process and reduce conflict during your divorce.
If you can come to an agreement with your ex-partner about how to divide your assets then the divorce process will be a lot quicker. Generally when you’re more mature these kinds of decisions are more likely to be on friendlier terms. However, we understand that this isn’t always the case.
Our Divorce Solicitors are experts in handling complex and simple divorce cases for people of all ages. We will always be open and honest with you so that you can get the best outcome out of your divorce.
How much does divorce cost? See Fixed Fee Divorce.
Protecting Your Pension
Often the older you get, the more money you’ll have in your pension pot. And when getting a divorce your pension may be your biggest asset, especially if you’ve already retired or are hoping to retire soon.
Often in silver divorces one person may have a larger pension than the other, for example if the wife stayed home and raised the children whilst the husband went to work. It’s understandable to be protective over your pensions, but disagreements will lengthen divorce proceedings and will probably make the entire process more expensive.
If both you and your ex rely on one pension then you could both benefit from a Pension Sharing Order which is issued by the Court. A Pension Sharing Order allows the Court to award a percentage of one party’s pension value to the other party.
The Court’s main concern is to make sure that both yours and your ex-partner’s needs are met, which includes sharing pensions fairly between you and your ex. This means that you can both live as financially comfortable as possible, and where possible enjoy the lifestyle that you had when you were married.
Aside from Pension Sharing you could opt for Pension Offsetting. This means that one or both of you keep your own pension assets, but this is then offset against your other assets. For example, if one party has a larger pension pot than the other, the other party may receive the family home if it is of similar value.
The same will apply if one party has a pension pot and the other has no pension. The other party may receive a larger portion of your shared assets, such as the family home, and the other gets to keep their pensions to themselves.
Pension Offsetting is less common, especially in a silver divorce, as the Court considers both party’s needs before making a decision. And often Pension Sharing covers these needs better than Pension Offsetting. So if you both rely on one pension as your main income, the Court would rarely enforce Pension Offsetting.
If you’ve already retired and are receiving an income from your pension, then your ex cannot take a lump sum from the pension pot in exchange for you keeping the rest.
Our Divorce Solicitors can reassure you if you’re worried about the gap between your partner’s pensions and yours during separation. Get in touch for initial advice on how to protect your joint assets in divorce.
Changing Your Will after Divorce
Once your divorce is finalised, your ex-partner will automatically be removed from your Will. This means that any assets you’ve left to your ex will no longer go to them. It’s important to review your Will following a divorce so that you can reassign your assets to your loved ones.
Here are some of the changes you might need to make to your Will after divorce:
- Executor – If your ex was the main Executor, then you should think about who you want to be your new Executor after your divorce
- Beneficiaries – While your ex will be removed from your Will, their family won’t, so if you are hoping for a clean break then you could consider renaming your Beneficiaries too
- Inheritance Tax – If you’re moving into a new property after divorce, you might need to change your Will so that you don’t end up paying more Inheritance Tax than you need to
It’s also important to remember that anything you own jointly with your ex will go to them if you pass way, as you cannot put jointly owned assets into your Will. You could consider changing ownership of any joint property from Joint Tenants to Tenants in Common so that your share in the property can be left to someone else. One of our Divorce Solicitors can advise you on your rights to jointly owned assets.
If your partner is named as your Attorney in your Lasting Powers of Attorney then you also might want to change this. When choosing an Attorney you give a lot of power to one person, so it’s important that your LPA is right for you.
Our Wills and Trusts Solicitors can advise you on making changes to your Will and Lasting Powers of Attorney after divorce. If you need to make significant changes to your Will, it is usually less costly to make a new Will.
Is a Silver Divorce the Best Option for Me?
If you end your marriage on friendly terms and you don’t plan on re-marrying, you may want to consider opting for an informal separation rather than a divorce. Longer marriages tend to bring more maturity, and it’s important to remember when dividing assets that some of those years of marriage were likely to have been happy years.
If you have children with your ex-partner, then you might want to keep a good relationship for the sake of your family. While a Pension Sharing Order can only be dealt with during divorce proceedings, if you can agree with your ex on how you’ll divide finances then you may not need to go to Court.
If you want to divide your finances but avoid divorce, a Separation Agreement allows you to deal with the financial aspects without having to go through the whole divorce process.
A Separation Agreement may not work for you if you want to re-marry or use a Pension Sharing Order. But it does mean you can save money and time on getting a divorce if you feel content staying married only by law.
Any relationship breakdown is hard but often, silver divorce couples may have known for some time that their marriage was coming to an end. As a result you may have already made any big life changes before finalising your divorce.
Speaking to a Divorce Solicitor can help you decide on the best steps for your separation, as they can provide expert divorce legal advice and discuss your options. Our Divorce Solicitors understand that divorce is not always the only answer to ending a relationship and will tailor their advice to your needs.
Remarrying Later in Life
The downsides to a Separation Agreement are that you can’t remarry or get a Pension Sharing Order unless you go through the entire divorce process.
While some silver divorcers are happy to just live together unmarried (cohabit) with new partners, the law doesn’t give you the same ties with one another that marriage provides.
It’s never too late to enter a new marriage, however getting a mortgage at a later age is often more difficult. You may be charged with much higher upfront costs when rehousing. It’s important that you make sure you get a fair share of your financial assets when getting divorced later in life, as this money will support the next steps you take – whether they include remarrying, rehousing, or paying care fees.
Our Divorce Solicitors can advise you on the best options around silver divorce. We’ll always be honest about fees and speak to you openly so you know what is happening throughout the divorce process.
For initial advice call our Family Law & Divorce Solicitors
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