Settling for less: how menopause may impact on financial settlements
In the second article on menopause and divorce, LGFL Managing Director Rita Gupta shares her thoughts on the financial impact on women, their pensions, and their earning capacity.
One of our core values at LGFL is to work tirelessly for fair and optimal financial settlements in divorce and separation. This involves recognising how post-menopausal women may have a lower income earning potential than they may have had prior to menopause.
Similarly, the suggestion that a woman who has perhaps been the homemaker or worked part time at this time of her life and may have to significantly increase her earning capacity, needs to be rethought in light of the menopause.
Since financial settlements can't be revisited easily once they are put in place, it is important to factor in that working circumstances may change radically as a result of menopause.
Settling for less
Several recent articles have highlighted how menopausal anxiety and stress combined with lack of confidence could leave women susceptible to accepting lower financial settlements than they would otherwise.
- A lack of energy can result in women wanting to see their divorce "over and done with" as quickly as possible.
- Memory problems can prevent the remembering details that might be required for financial disclosure.
- A lack of ability to focus or think clearly through complex legal issues. Pensions for example may be an area that is not considered fully. There is widespread thought that this often causes significant disadvantage.
- General lack of concentration may lead to women missing important details.
- Severe fatigue and lack of sleep can leave word with no energy to fight a divorce.
In the Family Law Menopause Project survey, 65% of those surveyed agreed that women are potentially disadvantaged in terms of financial settlements.
Menopause and work
The Fawcett Society Report of May 2022 surveyed menopausal women and found that:
- 44% of women in employment say their ability to work has been affected by their symptoms.
- 79% said there was no support network.
- 81% said there were no absence policies.
- 79% said there was no information shared with staff.
A survey by the Newson Health Menopause & Wellbeing Centre UK revealed the startling statistic that:
“99% of respondents said their perimenopausal or menopausal symptoms had led to a negative impact on their careers, with more than a third calling the impact ‘significant.’“
According to the survey, 59% of female workers in menopause had taken time off work due to their symptoms. In addition, a lack of understanding and resulting unfair treatment often led to women quitting their job sometimes at the peak of their careers. This could make them financially reliant on their partner more, and/or drawing their pension early.
Menopause and employers
In terms of awareness, employers can do much to reduce the stigma by educating their whole workforce about what the menopause involves.
In a pioneering initiative, petrochemical company BP offered structured device to help their employees, whatever stage of the menopause they were at. Its aim was to help everyone understand the stages of the menopause, how it might affect a work colleague and to normalize the conversation and challenges around work and menopause. BP shared the menopause guide with both employees and managers, designed to remove the stigma in the workplace and encourage an inclusive culture.
Empathetic, pragmatic advice on divorce
At LGFL our aim is to ensure that women in menopause don't miss out on a fair financial divorce settlement as a result of their symptoms. If you are considering separating at whatever stage of life, contact us for a fixed fee one hour consultation for empathetic, pragmatic legal advice.
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