The number of divorces has fallen to the lowest number in almost five decades, according to recent statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Zoe Bailey, director of financial planning, at wealth management group Tilney says: “Despite the number of divorces falling to the lowest number in almost five decades, this is still a difficult time both emotionally and financially for almost 91,000 couples.

“Around 10.6% of opposite-sex couples, were affected by divorce in 2018. It is worth remembering that, in addition to the emotional stress, there are important and sometimes long-lasting financial implications that need to be considered. It’s not uncommon for people to focus solely on the bigger financial assets, such as the family home, during a divorce.

“Often, people forget, or worse still are unclear, about what to do about their pension pots – which in some cases can turn out to be worth more than the family home.”

Bailey recommends, if you are going through the divorce process, to get some professional financial guidance and advice during the early stages, alongside the legal process: “[it] can help you feel more supported and ensure that the division of assets is carried out in the best way, and a way that minimises the potential impact of tax, and ultimately puts divorcees and their families on a better financial footing for the future.”

“Often, people forget, or worse still are unclear, about what to do about their pension pots – which in some cases can turn out to be worth more than the family home.”

Learning to cope financially

Becky O’Connor, personal finance specialist at Royal London, adds: “The impact on your personal finances from splitting up and going down to one income is a big challenge. A drop in income often comes after you’ve gone into debt to pay for the divorce or separation – so it’s a double whammy of debt repayments and less money coming in to pay the bills.

“It can be a long road to getting finances on track again, but it is possible. Household bills don’t exactly halve when one person leaves, but some outgoings, such as food, can be cheaper and once you’ve got the hang of budgeting on your own, you might find household finances become easier to manage.

Director and chartered financial planner at ISJ Financial Planning, Lena Patel says one of the clients she advised was going through the process of divorce. In this case, Patel helped her client seek further legal advice during the divorce process and also secure a more stable long-term financial future. Patel estimates enquiries from potential female clients increased by around half in the last year, focusing mainly on divorce and bereavement.

You can read the case study in full here.