We’re getting divorced later in life
The latest divorce figures for England and Wales paint an interesting picture.
According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 101,055 divorces of opposite sex couples in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.
This represents a 9.1% decline in the number of divorces compared to the previous year and a 34% fall compared to the recent peak in 2013.
It means the number of divorces in 2015 was comparable to the divorce rate in the early 1970s.
Despite the divorce rate falling, the average age of divorce has reached an all-time-high.
The average age for getting divorced in 2015 was 45 years and 11 months for men, and 43 years and 6 months for women.
For both sexes, the average age of divorce has been rising by about three months every year over the past decade. It has risen by about 10 years since records began in 1950.
With pension pots making up the largest part of household wealth in the UK, when people get divorced later in life, the value of pension assets often make up a very large part of any financial settlement.
Analysis from pension provider Aviva shows that the UK holds £11.1 trillion in household wealth, with around 40% of this represented by private pensions.
Agreeing a fair separation of pension wealth at a time of divorce is therefore important for both parties.
Aviva has estimated that a typical couple could have about £120,000 in combined private pension assets if they were to divorce in their 50s, assuming they married when aged 30.
Commenting on the data, Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings & Retirement at Aviva said:
“It is typical for our wealth to grow as we age. A rising average age of divorce will therefore typically bring with it a larger pool of wealth to separate.
“With the average age of divorce at an all-time high, it is fair to assume levels of wealth at a time of divorce may also be at an all-time high.
“Those in their 50s today will typically have married in the late 1990s, when aged about 30. Sadly, about one-in-three of those marriages have since ended in divorce.
“Many in their fifties may have combined private pension assets worth more than £120,000. Agreeing a fair separation of this pension wealth will be a key step in finalising a divorce, and will be critical to the future financial well-being of both parties.
“With the average age of divorce higher than ever, agreeing a fair separation of pension assets is more important than ever.”
Here at Informed Choice, we often work with individuals who are getting divorced, and their legal advisers, to help create a financial plan for the future.
Our expertise with complex pension matters is often important when helping understand the retirement planning aspects of agreeing financial settlements.