11th January 2021
Divorce at any time of life is, for many, distressing and upsetting, but when faced with divorce later on in life, there are some slightly different matters to consider.
According to the latest divorce statistics, the most common age for people to get divorced in the UK is between the age of 45 – 46 for men and the age of 43 – 44 for women. But over the last few years there has been an upward trend of people separating later on in life, with those divorcing over the age of 65 affectionately known as ‘silver splitters’.
A popular reason for this curve of couples divorcing in their 60’s may simply be down to the fact that people are living longer than ever before. People are more connected both socially and economically, women are more financially independent than before, and older generations are becoming more accepting of divorce and re-marrying.
People are less willing to settle or put up with a bad marriage, as their parents or grandparents may have done, when marital roles were different and fewer people separated back then once they were married. This can only be a good thing, as life is certainly too short to remain in an unhealthy relationship.
Our divorce lawyers at Lamb Brooks have experience and expertise in un-tangling long marriages for couples who are ready to go their separate ways. They share some insight into further considerations when divorcing later on in life.
The end of any relationship can be difficult, but the end of a 20-, 30- or 40-year marriage can be a devastating blow, particularly if the divorce has come as a surprise. Of course, getting divorced at a younger age can be equally heart-breaking, but those who have been married for decades often have built their lives together, share children and grandchildren, have dedicated themselves to each other and may find it difficult to picture a life ahead of them without their significant other.
Solicitors and advisers assisting those who are facing the ending of their marriage must ensure they handle matters sensitively, whilst also ensuring they give clear, pragmatic advice to help put their client in the best position to recover from their divorce.
Whilst pensions and finances should make up an important part of your divorce discussions at any age, for couples heading towards or already in retirement, the conversations become even more critical. Many pension schemes are complex but also incredibly valuable, particularly if you or your spouse holds an older-style final salary scheme pension. These should be explored carefully with the help of a financial adviser.
It has long been recognised that if one spouse has taken on the primary role of homemaker or stayed home to raise children, then they should not suffer when it comes to division of finances as their sacrifices have allowed their partner to gain a higher earning potential.
With earning potential for the future limited it is imperative to get the best financial advice and guidance when separating to ensure that you can support yourself as a single household.
When couples have spent a lifetime together, there are plenty of years to build up sizeable assets, but also own items of great sentimental value. The starting point is often the family home, which by this point in life may be mortgage-free or of high value. Agreeing to sell the matrimonial home is not always desired and it may be that spouses need to agree upon who will stay in the home and buy the other out, if feasible. If other properties or large assets are owned jointly, it is then time to address those after the main property is dealt with.
For older couples divorcing, their assets may include holiday homes, cars, art collections, collectables, antiques or art.
One aspect of separation which does become easier for older couples is that there is no need to decide on arrangements for dependent children, who are, most of the time adults who have flown the nest some time ago. However, this does not mean that your children will take divorce easily. Grown up children can become very protective when their parents get divorced. There is still the need to be sensitive with breaking the news to adult children and consider how your grandchildren should be told, if you have any.
With many people deciding to re-marry later in life, divorce lawyers are often working with clients who have experienced divorce before. Whilst they may be familiar with the process, it doesn’t make it any less painful, and can sometimes be more complex. If a pre-nuptial agreement was in place, then this needs to be addressed firstly.
If there are assets or children from previous relationships, then these are also areas for discussion during divorce proceedings and are ideally agreed upon between each other.
Whilst this cannot be said for all cases of older divorcers, in our experience many are separating quite amicably. Some have been living separate lives for some time and others have grown apart but managed to stay friends. If separating on good terms is something that is important to you, do let your divorce lawyer know at the start of the process as there are different routes to explore which may help aid your civil relationship.
It is not unusual for husbands and wives to become dependent on each other after a long marriage. It is important to learn how to become independent after separation, which may involve asking for additional support or learning some new skills.
For example, divorce lawyers often see clients who were reliant on their partner to take care of all their finances and bills. There are a number of spouses who are not aware of where their investments are held or even have their own bank account until after they separate.
Whilst moving onto a new relationship might not be top of your priority when going through a divorce, it is worth considering how you will protect your assets and prepare for the future. It is always advisable to re-visit your will after divorce to ensure that your estate will be dealt with as you would wish and if you do find love again, it is worth considering how you protect your assets built up before the new relationship by way of a pre-nuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement.
If you are thinking of divorce or have been issued with a divorce petition form your spouse and need some advice on how to move forward, please contact our specialist Family Lawyers on 01256 844888 or email email@example.com.
Alternatively, you can speak to our online chat assistant, who is a real person, not a robot, via the website at any time of day or night.
Whether you identify as a ‘silver splitter’ or ‘boomer divorcer’ our team of solicitors understand the entangled scenario of unpicking a long marriage and will always strive to help couples part way with dignity and clarity.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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