A grey social revolution is happening, with people in their late 50’s and 60’s divorcing at a higher rate than ever before.

Divorce Stats

In the last decade, the Office of National Statistics reported that in the 65+ demographic, there had been a 38% increase in women divorcing men and a 23% increase in men divorcing women. 

This demonstrates that older couples are splitting when they’re expected to be most settled. In fact, divorce rates in older couples have been on the rise for many years. There may be various reasons behind this and whatever they are, this is a reflection of the change in social attitudes towards marriage and divorce. Divorce is much more acceptable than it once was and more couples realise that they can separate amicably and lead happier lives, single or with new partners. The availability of internet dating and the increased use of social media may have contributed to this upwards trend, too.

Older couples are more likely to have older children, who have left home to study or work. Whilst the empty nest can cause problems in any marriage, the empty nest itself can end the obligation to “stay together for the children”, resulting in the perfect storm for those in unhappy marriages.

Another divorce driver could be the prospect of a long retirement in an unhappy marriage. As life expectancy increases, those retiring may consider carefully who they wish to spend the rest of their life with. The various lockdowns of the last 18 months have only added to the desire to make the most of life, with some feeling re-energised and ready to move onto pastures new.

Nearly twice the number of women initiate the divorce than men in the over 65’s, which highlights that there are many women of this age who are unhappy in their marriages. This age group are part of a generation who have lived through feminism, the workplace and the struggle of being sandwiched between looking after children and ageing parents. They may now feel more liberated than ever and realise that they do not wish to spend the winter of their life with their spouse of many years.

The statistics show that men over 65 who leave their marriages are more likely to remarry and the majority of those that do, remarry someone under 65.

Divorce Financial Settlements

Divorcing in your later years is not without its difficulties. Your finances will likely have been intertwined for decades and when it comes to agreeing on a split of assets, financial needs will be the most important consideration. What may have looked like a comfortable retirement can look very different when assets are divided in two. It is important that both parties seek legal advice at an early stage to ascertain what would constitute a fair financial settlement for them. 

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If you require advice on divorce, you can get in touch with our Family Law Team solicitors below.

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