Divorce rates among those aged over 60 has steadily risen since 1990 in England and Wales (1). Although looking at the rest of the population divorce has actually fallen according to the Office of National Statistics.
Records have shown that during 2011; 9,500 men aged 60 and over divorced. This figure is three times higher than 20 years ago and the same can be said for the women in this age group (1). This sudden and continual rise has been put down by many to an increase in life expectancy and the need to do something positive with their later years. A further factor is that this age group are often wealthier due to better pensions and property prices which gives divorcing couples many more opportunities of starting again. Many couples retire and create a bucket list of things they want to do, travel the world, buy a sports car, move abroad and retire in the sun etc.
The ageing population in the UK is realising that there is a lot less stigma associated with divorce together with women’s perception of new opportunities in relation to work and wealth.
The charity Relate (2) found that from today’s statistics there were many pressures facing couples as they age. Relate undertook research into relationships in the third age and found that 83% felt that strong personal relationships were the most important factor to a happy later life and if this isn’t the case then a new relationship could be an option. On average marriages that end in divorce in this age group usually have lasted 31.9 years (3).
Statistics show that it is more likely in this age group for the man to instigate and obtain a divorce. The Office of National Statistics (2) put this down to women not earning enough over their working life and lower pensions due to time out of employment taking care of children, the household etc.
Many couples want to divorce but stay together for their children, once they have left home some parents realise they have nothing in common, raising the question do they want to stay together? This along with divorce being much more simple and less expensive and there are no issues in regards to child maintenance, divorce can often the next step. The couples reaching this age and divorcing were likely to have married in the 1970s which was a time when cohabitation was not an option, therefore a trial period didn’t take place.
Professional advice is needed no matter what your age when divorce is being considered due to complications with pensions and property splits. If you need an informal chat about your situation the staff at Forster Dean Solicitors in St Helens are here to help.