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August 2013 - Divorce rate on the increase amongst the over 60s

By Rob Parker, Associate Solicitor and Collaborative Lawyer.

Latest data released by the Office of National Statistics on 6 August has shown that the number of couples getting divorced in England and Wales each year has gradually reduced year-on-year since the mid-1990s. 

However, there is one notable generation of people who are bucking that trend, namely people aged 60 and over, amongst whom there has been a steady rise in the number of divorces during the same period.

According to the ONS website (where the full breakdown of the statistics can be found), this trend can be explained by a number of factors. 

Firstly, there is a growing number of people aged 60 and over living in England and Wales, attributable to the so-called ‘baby-boomers’ demographic. 

Coupled with that is an increased life expectancy which means for those who find themselves genuinely unhappy in their marriage at a later stage in life, they may be more inclined to pursue new relationships rather than face the prospect of heading into a long retirement stuck together .

There has also been a loss in stigma in being divorced.  This has arisen from divorce becoming more commonplace following the law reforms in the early 1970s which made it easier. 

Finally, more women are in work these days than in previous generations which has meant that they have become more financially independent and are more likely to have accumulated their own savings and investments.  This in turn means that many more women are now better placed to support themselves outside of the marriage if they do take the decision to part from their spouse.

Divorce is a personal crisis at what ever stage of life, but our highly-experienced Family department is on hand to advise and guide clients through the process. 

In particular, for those individuals of a senior generation who are seeking to divorce, it is important to obtain proper legal advice as soon as possible.  As Rob Parker, Associate Solicitor at Phillips explains, ‘Many separating couples have accumulated significant assets, including sizeable pension schemes, by this stage in their lives and each of them may be thinking about their retirement,  so it is crucial that this is properly addressed and planned for within any settlement.  Our dedicated team of specialist lawyers is well-placed to assist on such matters.’

Rob Parker D/L 01256 854604 email: