Divorce and Separation Contribute to Women’s Financial Inequality

26 January 2018 Written by Family Law Caithness Category: News

A new report has found that despite women today living longer, having better educations and more career opportunities open to them, they are still more likely to be worse off than their male partners and female predecessors. One significant contributing factor to this financial inequality is relationship status, and in particular divorce and separation and a rise in cohabitation. 

The report was published by Insuring Women’s Futures, a programme established by the Chartered Insurance Institute. It identified a need to bring about greater awareness of the risks associated with relationship status and also to support women in achieving more equal and independent financial management and later-life planning.

It found that relationship status can affect women’s financial wellbeing in a number of ways:

  • A rise in the number of couples choosing to cohabit rather than marry can create a number of pitfalls for women, because cohabitees don’t have the same legal rights as married couples. Unfortunately, not everyone appears to know about the reduced rights associated with cohabitation – the survey found that 35% of respondents to the research were unaware of this fact.
  • Although cohabitation is becoming an increasingly popular relationship status, the majority of women still do get married. However divorce or separation can be seriously detrimental to a woman’s financial prospects, and with over 100,000 marriages breaking down annually, these detrimental effects are widely felt. The report highlights that women who have been through a divorce have a median pension wealth of £9,000, and separated women have no pension wealth at all.
  • According to the report, going through a relationship breakup can also increase a woman’s risk of experiencing domestic abuse, particularly in the form of financial coercion.

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