We have recently seen the invention of 'silver nups' (prenuptial agreements for older spouses). Many people entering into prenuptial agreements at a later stage in life do so to protect their children's inheritance as they remarry.
The latest statistics on divorce in England and Wales, which looks at data from 2013, shows that although the overall number of divorces has decreased, the number of over 60s getting divorced has reached a 40-year high.
Why do so many older couples divorce?
There are plenty of reasons why couples separate or divorce and many over 60s are making the decision to divorce and start a new life with a new partner.
1. Life Expectancy
With the life expectancy of the population increasing, those in unhappy relationships may decide they want a new lease of life, not wishing to spend another 20 or 30 years in their current situation.
2. Divorce is the Norm
A contributing factor to older couples divorcing is that divorce has become more commonplace, with little, if any, stigma attached. Some couples may find that when their children have ‘fled the nest’ that their relationship is found wanting, leaving them feeling unhappy or unfulfilled.
Many over 50s and baby boomers are not financially reliant on their partner. They would have little trouble rehousing and financially planning for the future. Therefore, this means many baby boomers are well placed (financially) to divorce.
4. Pension Reforms
It’s also common for this age group to have sizeable pensions which allow them to consider earlier retirement. Furthermore, from April 2015 the pension reforms have meant that many of the over 55 age group will be able to access their entire pension pot as cash.
The pension reforms can aid so called ‘silver splitters’ in splitting their assets and can potentially make financial separation easier. Although it is worth noting work will still need to be done by solicitors and financial experts to value their pensions and other assets.
In light of finances and pension reforms, many of the over 50s can be financially comfortable on their own and do not fear that they will be in a weaker financial position when separated. In many cases, they will be able to amicably agree when dividing assets with their former spouse.
The Future of Silver Splitters
The New Year’s focus on resolutions and change can see many couples scrutinise their relationship and could lead to an end of a marriage and the start of a new life. We will see whether or not the ‘silver splitters’ will continue to lead the statistics for divorcing couples throughout 2016.
Whatever your circumstances, it is important to get the right advice as early as possible. That way, the separation, resolution of financial matters and arrangements can all be dealt with as amicably as possible.
The UK contact centre at Slater and Gordon Lawyers is open 24/7. You can call us about your divorce at any time on freephone 0800 916 9055 or you can contact us online and we will call you back at a time that suits you.
Jonathan Casey is a family law solicitor for Slater and Gordon and works from our Manchester and Liverpool offices.