How to secure your finances in the event of a divorce in later life

The harsh reality is divorce can happen at any age and any stage of your life. We’ve been contacted by couples in their early 20s who have only been married for a couple of weeks, right through to clients in their 80s who have been married for decades but have slowly grown apart. Divorce can happen for a multitude of reasons and there is no legal impediment for getting a divorce at any age.

In a recent survey Scottish law firm, Austin Lafferty Solicitors found that 39% of UK adults who are either married or in a civil partnership would be worried about how a divorce or separation might affect their financial security later in life i.e. how pensions, savings and other assets would be divided between them and their partner.

Of these, 69% may delay or reconsider their decision to divorce or dissolve a partnership due to these concerns.

From a legal perspective, age is just a number when it comes to divorce, however, the longer you have lived together the more joint your financial commitments will likely be.

Securing your finances during a divorce in later life

Organising finances is often a sticking point of all divorces, no matter how amicable the relationship is at the time. While of course, it is important to have your finances in order at all stages of your life, this is especially true in later life where employment may not be an option or if the couple are already in retirement.

Prior to appointing a divorce solicitor, if can be helpful if the separating couple discuss or provide evidence of the following:

  • Collate a list of all assets and accounts that are owned both jointly and individually to give an overview of your financial position. Including valuations here will help to provide a more accurate account of assets.
  • In some instances, it’s necessary to get a valuation or statement that highlights the future value of assets that will mature at a later date or those with a specific end date.
  • One of the common areas of contention is the family home and which party will remain in the property, if any. Ensuring this is a financially viable option is also important as the home could feel like a burden if the individual can no longer afford it after assets have been split.
  • In addition to assets, all debts also need to be considered including loans, mortgages, credit cards balance etc. Once again having printed proof of these will help the process run smoothly.
  • In circumstances where older children are involved, they must still be considered, even if they don’t depend on financial support from their parents. Some common points to consider include university fees, whether you were planning on gifting a mortgage deposit or if you are a guarantor on their mortgage.
  • It’s also important to look into the future and consider how much money you will need to live one each month once you have separated. This should include all day to day expenses as well as saving for bigger items such as a car or holiday.
  • Finally, it’s helpful to have conversations with close members of your family so they can highlight any concerns that you can factor into your decision making before approaching a solicitor.

The harsh reality is that all divorce proceedings are difficult and there will also be a certain level of stress with emotions running high. This is true no matter at what stage in life the process takes place. Of course your solicitor will always be working to get you the best possible settlement but there are ways of splitting heavily interwoven assets that also reduce your future tax liabilities. Ensure your solicitor has this in mind from your first meeting to avoid any future financial burdens and additional stress.

Austin Lafferty of Austin Lafferty Solicitors

Austin Lafferty is a Scottish law firm founded by Austin Lafferty himself – a past President of the Law Society, Scotland. For over 30 years Austin Lafferty’s highly respected team of lawyers and solicitors have been supporting couples of all ages through the divorce process.