An increase in over 60s divorcing is a trend likely to continue – a development not as strange as it seems on the face of it.
A survey released by the Office for National Statistics has showed the number of divorces for those of pensionable age in England and Wales has been on the increase since the 1990s, in contrast with falling divorce rates in the rest of the population.
This is in part probably due to us living longer meaning there are more over-60s than a generation or two ago.
We are living longer and because of this 60 is regarded as the new 50, with people of that age having seen a very different upbringing to their parents, brought up in the more conservative times of the 1940s and 50s.
Less stigma over being divorced, and a greater financial independence for women is also part of the reason for this change.
In 1991, there were 1.6 divorces per 1,000 married men over 60, figures released by the ONS showed, but by 2011, the latest year for which figures are available, this had risen to 2.3.
Also, there were 1.2 divorces per 1,000 married women over 60 in 1991, rising to 1.6 in 2011.
Yet in that period overall divorce rates for all married men fell from 13.6 per 1,000 to 10.8, and the trend was very much similar for women.
In general, women are now more able to support themselves outside of marriage than in the past.
Also, it is sad but simply not uncommon in this era to see senior couples drift apart as a result of what is known as ’empty nest syndrome,’ when their grown children have moved out to build their own lives.
This period can be a catalyst between couples and bring about issues which may have been hidden for years by their responsibilities to their children.
Also some people may simply wish to have other relationships whereby in the past couples may have felt compelled to stay together in old age. What has to be remembered is someone in their early 60s now was a teenager in the swinging sixties.
The issues involved in older divorce can be quite different to younger people, but as very experienced family law specialists we are aware of the acute pain involved and therefore we can help bring about a solution best for all parties.
Starting a new life is seldom straightforward and many questions have to be posed and digested before life changing decisions can be made.
It is a very tricky process, often more so in older age. Therefore utter clarity and sound advice from experts are needed before any action is taken.