Are you a “Silver Splitter”?

Last Monday was National Divorce Day - so called because it is the first Monday “back to normal” after Christmas, the bills start landing on the doormat and frayed couples have spent too long in close proximity. However, as the numbers of separations are largely on the decline, it seems there is a rise in the “silver splitter” - and if you’re one of them, you might find you’re in for a financial windfall.

According to the Office for National Statistics, divorce among people aged 60 and over in England and Wales has been on the rise - despite numbers of separations falling over all in the rest of the population.

It is thought this is due to living and working longer, which has allowed people more financial freedom or independence in later life, which can spur them into a new life or new partner.

It also seems that those who “stay together for the sake of the kids” forces people to separate after children fly the nest.

If you reached pension age before 6 April 2016, and you’re separated from a spouse, then you could be one of hundreds of “diamond divorcees” or “silver splitters” who are missing out on further financial stability.

For those who reached pension age on or before 6 April 2016, a married woman is entitled to the equivalent of 60% of her husband’s basic salary. This is due to the fact that she was not able to earn a bigger pension in her own right.

However, a divorcee can claim up to 100% of her husband’s salary to compensate for loss in household income. The rate she can claim is based on the former husband’s NICs up to the date of divorce.

It means that some women could claim a full basic state pension worth £135.25 a week if they split after he retires on a full pension.

But if a woman is already collecting her pension when she divorces, it is down to her to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and pursue a claim for the increased rate.

And if you are eligible, it is worth doing. Failure to claim could cost a divorcee £50,000 over a 20-year retirement.

If you would like any other information relating to marriage or separation, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.