Divorce hits women’s income TWICE as hard as men’s: Wives’ finances plunge by a third after marriage ends, research suggests
- The Legal & General pension group released the research findings yesterday
- It said many women earn less than men and do not insist on taking a share of their former partner’s pension
- This decision often leaves women financially worse off following a divorce
Women take nearly twice the financial hit suffered by men following a divorce, research revealed yesterday.
It found that wives experience a drop of a third in their income after a marriage ends but for men the fall is less than a fifth of the money they have to live on.
Researchers from the Legal & General pension group said the difference occurs because women are likely to earn less than men, and because many do not insist on taking a share of their husband’s pension.
Some divorcing wives will exchange their right to a slice of their husband’s pension so they can keep the house which was once the couple’s home.
As a result, nearly a third of newly divorced women face a struggle to make ends meet – against only just over a fifth of men.
The extent of the financial blow of divorce and its greater impact on women was set out in a survey by Legal & General at a time of deepening concern over rising rates of divorce.
There were nearly 108,000 divorces in England and Wales last year, up by a fifth in a year and the highest number for nearly 50 years, and there are concerns that the numbers may rise even faster this year.
Women take nearly twice the financial hit suffered by men following a divorce, research revealed yesterday. It found that wives experience a drop of a third in their income after a marriage ends but for men the fall is less than a fifth of the money they have to live on. Researchers from the Legal & General pension group said the difference occurs because women are likely to earn less than men, and because many do not insist on taking a share of their husband’s pension [Stock image]
While the number of divorces going through the legal system have dropped during the pandemic, the total is expected to rise once the effects of lockdowns and court restrictions have worked through. Government reforms, which introduce divorce on demand for one partner, are also likely to lead to an increase.
The financial impact of divorce adds to the emotional and social blow to spouses who split, and the effects on children, who are much more likely to perform badly at school and suffer health problems if their parents have split.
The findings, based on a poll carried out by Opinium Research among more than 2,000 divorced men and women aged over 50, showed that following divorce a woman’s income typically falls by 33 per cent, against 18 per cent for a man.
They found that 31 per cent of women are in financial difficulties following divorce against 21 per cent of men, and 28 per cent of women are likely to give up their right to a share of their former spouse’s pension against 19 per cent of men.
‘Men who divorce are far more likely to have been the primary breadwinner in the relationship – 74 per cent of men against 18 per cent of women,’ said the report from Legal & General.
Professor Debora Price of Manchester University, who is producing a guide to pensions for those who divorce, said: ‘Divorce is such an emotional time and people have so much to think about that they often just cannot focus on the pensions.
‘Ignoring them, or trading them away without ever knowing their true value, is often a terrible route for women.’
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