A grey social revolution is occurring, with people in their late fifties and sixties divorcing at a higher rate than ever before, these couples are known as silver splitters.
Stats on divorce amongst silver splitters
In the past decade, the Office of National Statistics reported that in the demographic of 65+, there had been an increase of 38% in women divorcing men and a 23% increase in men divorcing women.
These findings demonstrate that older couples are splitting when they are expected to be most settled. In fact, divorce rates within couples that are older have been on the rise for many years. There may be various reasons behind this, and whatever they are, this reflects the change in social attitudes regarding 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 a new partner. The availability of internet dating and the increased use of social media may have also 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”, which can result in the perfect storm for those in unhappy marriages.
Another driver for divorce and silver splitters could be the prospect of a long retirement in an unhappy marriage. As life expectancy increases, those retiring may carefully consider who they wish to spend the rest of their lives with. The various lockdowns of the previous 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 divorce than men in the demographic of over 65, which highlights that many women of this age are unhappy in their marriages. This age group are part of a generation that has 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 rest of their life with their spouse of many years.
The statistics also show that men over 65 who leave their marriages are more likely to remarry, and the majority of those that do, are likely to remarry someone under 65.
Divorce Financial Settlements for Silver Splitters
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 the splitting 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.
Should you have any more questions regarding divorce at a later point in life, you can contact the Family Law Team at Myerson Solicitors.
Silver splitters is a feature post – you might also like my post on women with confidence quotes