Divorcees expect their retirement income to be up to 16% lower than people who have stayed married, according to research published by Prudential today.
The insurer's survey found that people who are planning to retire this year and have been divorced expect their annual income to be £13,800. This is £2,600 less than the £16,400 annual average expected by other respondents.
Over one third (40%) of people surveyed by Prudential who are planning to retire this year were divorced. Of those, 18% have no private pension savings - compared to 14% of those who have never been divorced.
Similarly, 22% of those who have divorced are retiring with debts, compared with just 16% of non-divorcees. Almost two-thirds (61%) of divorced people retiring this year with debts still owe money on credit cards, compared to 50% of those who haven't divorced.
Meanwhile, 45% of divorcees expect to leave an inheritance, compared to 52% of non-divorcees.
The survey also found that only one in three (33%) of those who have been divorced believe they have saved enough for a comfortable retirement, compared to 42% of those who haven't been through a divorce.
Clare Moffat, pensions specialist at Prudential, said: 'Divorce can be emotionally draining but also financially draining as the retirement income gap for divorcees demonstrates. Whether it is due to the financial implications of splitting existing pensions, the cost of setting up a new home or legal fees, divorce clearly has a major impact on the retirement plans of many people.
'Around two in five marriages end in divorce and it is most common among couples aged 40 to 44 - the time of their lives when they would expect their earnings and their ability to save for retirement to peak.
Women's retirement incomes were particularly vulnerable to the financial effects of divorce, Moffat added. 'Many of them may be relying on their husband's pension and in some couples the wife may have had little input to the financial decisions that have been made over the years.'
She noted that a pension fund was likely to be one of the largest and most complex joint assets to be split by couples going through a divorce or dissolving a civil partnership.