12 August 2013
The rise of the Silver Divorce
It has been reported that there has been a significant increase in the number of over-sixties divorcing their partners after years of marriage. “Silver Splitter” divorces are rising at a time when the overall number of marriage failures is in decline. Unlike other age groups where women are more likely to petition for divorce, among the over-sixties, it is men who are reportedly as likely to want to dissolve a marriage.
According to reports, longer life expectancy is encouraging men to seek a new life of adventure with a younger partner once they have retired and their Children are grown up. Further, greater financial independence among women together with a decline in the stigma attached to divorce have also been suggested as reasons for the increase in older people divorcing.
The “Silver Splitters” are apparently reconsidering whether they want to spend their retirement years with their spouses whom they have been married to for many years; it makes them re-evaluate whether they want to continue living day in day out with them, especially if they are unhappy.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that there were 9,349 divorces where the husband was over 60 in 2011, compared with the previous high of 9,603 in 1972. There were 5,836 divorces where the woman was 60 or over, compared with a record 7,501 in 1972.
It can of course be a frightening prospect for older spouses to get Divorced; especially if they have been married for a long time, got married at an early age and have never lived on their own before. However, it seems to now be more socially acceptable to be independent; with there being more opportunities than ever before to meet new friends or partners as a result of social media. Looming retirement can make people think about what they really want and how they want to enjoy the wealth they have accumulated, especially when they have fulfilled their responsibilities to their grown up children; you only live once after all.
By Family Law Solicitor Georgina Chase