A closer look at Nationwide’s report on divorce after 50

A closer look at Nationwide’s report on divorce after 50

Nationwide’s recent report really seems to be proof of the old adage that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

The survey only appears to have included 237 divorcees, which could be as low as only 119 cases.

A very small percentage of the 30,200 cases involving those aged over 50 years that divorced during 2013.

It’s rather fanciful to try to suggest that couples divorcing, if aged over 50, are likely to be better or worse off financially.

It’s my experience that each divorce case is different to the next, and whether parties may feel better or worse off very much depends on the income and assets involved in any particular case.

Take a 50-year-old couple with two dependent children, both earning minimum wage topped up a little with Tax Credits.

Say they are living in property held in joint names, which is in negative equity and with a mortgage payment of £500 per month.

Separation for that couple would be extremely difficult and both are likely to struggle financially.

The family unit has probably only survived because there were two incomes supporting the family and the combined housing costs.

On separation there, of course, will be two homes to fund and their combined income which had paid for the running costs of one home will need to be spread somewhat more thinly.

There would be likely to be additional Tax Credits available for the parent who provides the main source of care for the children. Or for both parents if the care of the children was to be shared between them.

All in all, a difficult financial situation would arise.

Compare this to, say, two 50-year-olds with income in excess of £60,000 per annum each, owning a matrimonial home worth, say, £300,000, which was mortgage-free, and both with good pension provision. There may also be cash savings, shares and other investments.  

In a case like this, the matrimonial home could easily be sold to provide a significant deposit for each party, which they could top up with other capital assets or mortgage borrowings.

The parties would probably not be better off. But, individually, would be able to get mortgage-free accommodation and have more than enough income to meet their living costs and really have no monetary worries whatsoever.

Divorcees falling into this type of case would no doubt be the ones feeling a new lease of life. As they would once again be ‘single’ with funds to pursue hobbies and interests.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of the article is that 55% of people divorcing didn’t seek any appropriate advice. And 38% of those surveyed indicating that the process was not amicable.

Getting even preliminary advice from a family lawyer who’s a member of Resolution would be something I’d recommend for all cases, whichever end of the financial spectrum the parties may be.

Source: Nationwide Media Centre

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