The Rise in Over-50s Divorce
Family Law Solicitors – Gosforth, Newcastle and Sunderland
Breaking up is hard to do – it’s a fact no less true simply because you’re more mature, and have a greater cache of life experience. If you’re divorcing over 50, there are some key points you may wish to consider from a financial perspective:
1) Your Borrowing Capacity
Not only is the Matrimonial Home usually the main asset when it comes to divorce, but housing needs are usually very high on separating couples’ list of priorities – if you’re leaving your significant other, you’re going to need to keep a roof over your head (and perhaps the heads of your children!).
Achieving this might seem a little daunting. You may find yourself wondering whether you will be able to buy another home and remain on the Property Ladder, or whether you will instead have to rent, perhaps indefinitely.
Finding out how much money you can borrow (i.e. by way of mortgage) will be very important in this respect, as it can inform your lawyer as to:
a) Whether you can afford to ‘buy-out’ your spouse’s share of the Matrimonial Home, enabling you to continue living there; or
b) Whether the Home will need to be sold, and if so, how the equity should be divided.
If your borrowing capacity is lower than your spouse’s – whether because of your age, or the fact that you have a significantly lower income than your spouse – there will be a case for saying that you require a larger share of the equity when the Matrimonial Home is sold.
Borrowing capacity is particularly significant in Over-50s Divorces, as lenders may be less willing to lend large sums to those approaching retirement age. If you’re worried about this, always seek advice. Emmersons Divorce and Family Law Experts will take into account your particular circumstances, and work toward a settlement tailored to your needs.
2) Your Pension Entitlements
All relationships can create dependence, and in the case of lengthy marriages, this often presents as a reliance on each other’s income. Sometimes, one spouse will be so reliant on the income of the other that the loss of that income can be a frightening prospect.
If you’re going through a divorce, you’ll need to ask yourself how you are going to ensure that your needs and, perhaps the needs of your children, are provided for in the longer term. You will need to ensure that you have enough steady income to meet your outgoings, and getting a new job might not be quite enough.
It is possible for you to obtain a Court Order for spousal maintenance. If you are over 50 and have a low income or no income the Court may order monies to be paid for your benefit. If, however, you both have sufficient income then the Court may prefer to achieve a ‘Clean Break’ – an order ensuring that divorcing spouses don’t remain financially bound to each other in the longer term.
A Pension Sharing Order made in your favour could be a vital tool to ensure that you have a steady income in the years to come. In making such an order, the Court dictates that part of your spouse’s pension pot, which may be significantly larger than yours, is transferred into a separate pot in your name – from which you can draw an income.
A Pension Sharing Order can be particularly important to either party. It may be an excellent way of reducing the tax burden on a high-value pension pot and it will also be the means of ensuring that both parties are able to live comfortably in later life. A Pension Sharing Order made in your favour could provide much-needed security for your future.
3) Your Will
Statistically speaking, by the time you’ve celebrated your half-century, you’ve entered the portion of the population most likely to have made a Will. Having done so, you might have put it from your mind – stashing the document in a drawer, never to be looked at again.
However, if you’re going through a divorce, it is crucial that you dust off your Will and have it reviewed by a specialist; Divorce can invalidate many parts of a Will, and depending on how your Will has been drafted it may have been rendered completely redundant.
If you had appointed your spouse as your sole executor, you will need to make a new Will following your divorce, as the appointment of a spouse as executor automatically lapses on divorce; however, there can be problems even if you had appointed your spouse as one of multiple executors.
On the other hand, if you haven’t made a will, the law is such that your spouse will automatically inherit from your estate when you die. This can be very important to bear in mind whilst your divorce is ongoing, as this is perhaps unlikely to reflect your wishes, and you will, therefore, need to consider making a Will in anticipation of divorce.
For further information and a ‘Next Steps’ Divorce Advice Session.
Book your ‘Next Steps’ Divorce Advice Session at our Newcastle office: 0191 284 6989
Book your ‘Next Steps’ Divorce Advice Session at our Sunderland office: 0191 567 6667
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