Divorced women over 50 end up with pensions worth £100,000 less than their ex-partners

Official figures show divorced women over the age of 50 end up with a pension worth £100,000 less than that of their former husband.

According to a survey of over-50s divorced people and married couples across Britain by the Office for National Statistics, the average pension pot of divorced women totals £131,000, compared to the £235,000 divorced men typically have.

The average divorced woman over 50 has property wealth of £169,000 compared to the £191,000 of men.

Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, who now works for insurer Royal London which compiled the analysis, said,

“‘Pensions are so complicated to understand that many people do not appreciate their value when they get divorced. Their focus tends to be on getting half of the house.

“But if your ex-husband has a generous pension built up over 25 years, it could be worth more than the house.”

He added, “When couples split up there is an understandable focus on family issues and on highly visible assets such as the family home.

“But very often one partner will have pension rights which are less visible but can be just as valuable.”

 

Why are couples more likely to split in January

The first working Monday back after the Christmas break is dubbed “Divorce Day” by lawyers who typically see an increase in couples considering divorce.

This year Divorce Day fell on Monday, January 7.

Support service Amicable says that more than 40,500 people will search “divorce” online in January, which is almost 25% higher than at any other time of the year.

The latest divorce figures, released last year, revealed the divorce rate for heterosexual couples in the UK was at a 45-year low, with 101,669 divorces of heterosexual couples in England and Wales.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 8.4 divorces of opposite-sex couples per 1,000 married men and women in 2017, representing the lowest rates since 1972 and a 5.6 per cent decrease since 2016.

According to the ONS figures, unreasonable behaviour was cited as the most common reason for both heterosexual and same-sex divorce.

13 people filed for divorce on Christmas Day

Official figures reveal more than 400 people filed for divorce over the festive period. Thirteen people filed for divorce on Christmas Day.

HM Courts & Tribunals Service received 455 online divorce applications from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day.

Spouses seeking to end their marriage are now able to complete the entire process online by filling in applications, uploading required documents and paying fees on the internet without sending off any paperwork.

Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show more than 23,000 online divorce applications have been made since the platform was rolled out in England and Wales in April 2018.

Ammanda Major, head of clinical practice at charity Relate, said: “Many people hope that the festive period will be a time of coming together, so when this doesn’t happen the sense of failure and sadness can further exacerbate problems that were there in the first place.

“Pressures can build up when people are spending an extended period of time together.

“For some people it might be the additional financial pressure of Christmas that triggers a problem, while for others it could be the stress of trying to keep everyone from the in-laws to the children happy.

“At Relate, we typically see an increase in the number of requests for help in January, and it’s important to remember that relationship support and counselling can help people work through their problems.”

Overall, the MoJ said more than 150,000 people used online justice services in 2018, taking the total number past 300,000 in the past four years.

 

 

Grandparents contact with grandchildren to be considered by ministers

Following pressure from MPs and campaigning groups, Justice Minister Lucy Frazer QC has agreed to look at rules allowing grandchildren to maintain contact with grandparents after parental separation.

An amendment to the Children Act is being asked to be considered, which would include a child’s right to have a close relationship with members of their extended family. The change would also cover aunts and uncles. At present, relatives have to apply to court to gain access rights and then have a child arrangement order put in place.

Tory MP Ms Frazer said, “Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren, and I sympathise with those who experience the anguish of being prevented from seeing their grandchildren if a parental relationship ends.

“I am looking at what measures the Government could take to help more grandchildren maintain contact with grandparents following parental separation and will make an announcement about the Government’s plans in due course.”

Her comments follow research which suggests up to a million grandchildren are split from grandparents following family separation or bereavement.

 

 

Judge criticises man for contesting divorce

A family judge has criticised an adulterous man for contesting a divorce in what has been described as an ‘awful case.’

The man contested the divorce despite admitting that he committed adultery over 22 years of their marriage.

Her Honour Judge Lynn Roberts said the case was ‘extraordinary’ and described the man as ‘deeply dishonest.’

She said, “I do not believe him about any of the matters in issue in this case. His attitudes displayed in these proceedings are those which were common 40 years ago, not today.”

The judge added, “Mr H’s whole case has indeed been completely futile, a huge waste of money, a tragic destruction of family relationships, and all, in my opinion, to satisfy Mr H’s own vanity and need to be in control and for the other reasons I have suggested earlier. All he had to do was to not contest the divorce, a divorce he wanted, as virtually everybody else in the country does, and this couple would have had their decree nisi last year, the various relationships would, in all likelihood, have been well on the way to healing by now and the money saved for the family.”

 

Estranged wife of retired racing driver demands half of £11m family fortune

A retired racing car driver is being taken to court by his estranged wife after she was left with ‘almost nothing’ of the £11.4 million family fortune.

Following divorce proceedings, Anita Brack, 51, was left with just £500,000 while former IndyCar champion, Kenny Brack, 52, took more than £10 million in the Family Division of the London court. 

Anita claimed she was made to sign a pre-nup ahead of their marriage in December 2000.

She is now demanding that half the family money should be hers after the couple divorced after two children and 15 years of marriage.

A divorce judge has rejected her claim for an equal share of the money due to her signing the agreement in full knowledge of what they meant.

Mr and Mrs Brack both filed for divorce – the husband in Sweden and wife in the UK – in February 2015 and separated a month later. 

Mr Justice Francis in the Family Court said, ‘I do not believe it to be fair, after a marriage of this length and with these contributions and these children, for the wife to be left with almost nothing and for the husband to be left with almost everything.

‘The overwhelming majority of the assets were generated during the marriage.

‘I have found that the wife did understand that she was signing a pre-nuptial agreement that would govern the financial consequences of the marriage if it ended.

‘The court should accord respect to the decision of a married couple as to the manner in which their financial affairs should be regulated.’

 

Lord Bragg Granted Divorce

Writer and broadcaster Lord Bragg, 79, and his wife Catherine Haste have been granted a divorce after a 44-year-marriage.

Judge Anne Hudd granted a decree nisi at a 50-second hearing in the Central Family Court in London.

Neither Catherine Haste nor Melvyn Bragg were present at the hearing.

Paperwork showed their marriage was solemnised at a register office in Hampstead in December 1973.

Lord Bragg’s wife had petitioned for divorce on the grounds of “two years’ separation by consent.”

Lord Bragg consented to divorce on the grounds that the marriage had “broken down irretrievably.”

Princess Tessy of Luxembourg represents herself in High Court divorce battle

Princess Tessy of Luxembourg is representing herself at the High Court in London in her divorce trial.

 

Princess Tessy’s marriage to His Royal Highness, Prince Louis Xavier Marie Guillaume of Luxembourg has come to an end after a ten year marriage.

 

After their marriage when he was just 19, Prince Louis renounced his succession rights to the throne.

Speaking outside court, the princess did not explain why she had chosen to represent herself.

 In court, she addressed Mr Justice McDonald in English.

The Family Division trial lasted several days.

Mr Justice McDonald is expected to make decisions on how money and assets should be split in the near future.

He said Prince Louis and Princess Tessy, both 32, could be named in media coverage of the case, but ruled to stop the reporting of financial and personal details.

 

Russian oligarch loses divorce battle

A Russian oligarch immersed in Britain’s most expensive divorce has lost a crucial court battle to avoid paying his ex-wife more than £450m.

Farkhad Akhmedov refused to pay his ex the huge sum after claiming he was already divorced when they lived in Moscow.

After he refused to accept a ruling by a British court that he pay her half his fortune, his ex-wife Tatiana attempted to seize his super yacht Luna in lieu of payment.

At present the £353m yacht is being held at a port in Dubai for the duration of the legal battle over its ownership.

A Russian Court of Appeal rejected Akhmedov’s attempts to prove he was divorced in 2000 in Moscow.

Akhmedov claimed the papers were lost, but the court rejected his appeal saying he had failed to submit ‘sufficient and credible’ evidence over their existence.

Lawyers for Tatiana welcomed the decision by the Moscow Court of Appeal.

Yuri Kuznetsov, acting for Ms Akhmedov in Moscow, said, “We are relieved that this nonsensical claim can finally be put to bed.

“Three courts have now reached the conclusion that the only divorce granted to Ms Akhmedov was that finalised in London in 2016 and the Moscow City Court’s decision is closing the net on his increasingly desperate attempts to avoid accepting that reality.”

 

Divorce is granted to German woman in UK court

A German woman has been granted a divorce after bringing matrimonial proceedings to England after discovering her husband was having an affair.

Catja Thum issued a divorce petition in England even though Oliver Thum had started separate proceedings in Germany.

The couple, both in their 40s, were at the Court of Appeal in May this year.

Judges ruled in favour of Mrs Thum and the divorce was granted at the Central Family Court in High Holborn London.

Court documents cited Mr Thum’s “unreasonable behaviour” as the reason for the divorce and described the marriage as having “broken down irretrievably.”

A decree nisi was formally granted by District Judge Yvonne Gibson in a hearing that lasted less than a minute.