Increase in divorce in later life

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Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that the divorce rate amongst the over 60’s, sometimes referred to as ‘silver splitters’, has risen significantly in recent years. The statistics, which take in data from 2011, show that divorce rates in this age group are some three quarters higher than they were 20 years earlier.

Indeed in the most recent statistics from the ONS, showing detailed divorce figures for 2014, rates for women ages 55 to 59 saw an increase of 1.9 per cent – bucking the overall trend of a reduction in divorce rate.

There have been a number of reasons cited for the increase in divorce in later years, including:

  • Empty nest syndrome
  • Increase in independence for over 60’s
  • Improved life expectancy and fitness levels amongst over 60’s
  • Lesser social stigma surrounding divorce.

It may also be that after many years of marriage, couples in their 60’s and over simply feel they have grown apart.

Whatever the reason behind a split, there are some key considerations for those separating and divorcing in later life.

Due to the increased likelihood of having accumulated assets and wealth by this stage in life, the financial aspects of a divorce for those in or approaching their 60’s may be more complicated than couples who separate in their 30’s or 40’s. For example, individuals over 60 may well have built up a substantial pension and together, couples may own one or more properties. By this stage in life, it is also possible that significant sums of money may have been inherited, or else acquired through a lifetime of working – potentially therefore leaving a sizable pot of assets to be divided.

If any of the above apply, it is particularly important to seek advice from an experienced divorce solicitor. Although the couple may wish to remain amicable – something that is entirely understandable and workable – it is nonetheless important to achieve a full and fair financial settlement you can take forward with you to enjoy the rest of your life. After all, if you have retired or are close to retirement, you may have lots of plans you wish to fulfil.

In especially complex cases of later life divorce, your solicitor may instruct additional experts – such as a financial adviser to value any pensions – in order to establish the true value of such assets. Again, this will help to ensure any settlement that is proposed takes full values into consideration.

For more help and advice in relation to divorcing or separating in later life, please contact us here. Our team of divorce lawyers will be able to provide initial information to help guide you through the next steps in the process.