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How is divorce different for the over 65s?

View profile for Wendy Armstrong
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Divorce rates in the UK hit a 45-year low in 2018. This massive reduction was not due to the prevailing health of relationships but rather, can be attributed to the decrease in couples actually choosing to get married.

As the number of applications has narrowed in general, there has been a simultaneous rise in the number of over-65s resorting to divorce. In fact, divorce rates for over 65s has increased 40-50% and this age group now constitutes a new category of divorcees commonly referred to as ‘Silver Splitters’.

The rise in divorce rates within this demographic can be attributed to a multitude of different factors including longer life expectancy, greater financial independence of women, reduced stigma, amongst others. It is, however, the unique priorities of this group that set them apart from divorcees in other age groups.

For instance, most Silver Splitters are either retired or planning for imminent retirement. This position is especially daunting for those considering divorce as many wonder how assets can be divided to afford both parties the retirement they have worked so hard to attain.

It is most important then, that Silver Splitters consider the assets that have been built up over the course of their marriage.  These assets are usually considerable due to the length of many of these marriages and can often involve multiple properties and large pensions.

For many Silver Splitters, the main concern in relation to the assets of the marriage is that they are either held in the sole name of one party or, in the alternative, were earned by the working spouse whilst the other maintained the household or brought up the children. This should not pose a deterrent to pursuing divorce as the starting point of the Court when considering the financial arrangements after a long marriage is a 50/50 split. The Court will consider a number of different factors but will seek to find a resolution that is fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

It is important then that over 65s considering divorce seek independent legal advice before entering into an agreement with their spouse as to division of assets. BakerLaw’s specialist family lawyers can provide you with all of the guidance you require when entering this challenging time in your life. We have a vast array of experience providing clients with their own tailored advice, giving consideration to their unique set of circumstances.

If you are a Silver Splitter who is daunted by taking the first steps to change your life, please contact a member of our family team today to book an initial no obligation free consultation.

This article is not a definitive statement of the law. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. It is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. BakerLaw LLP and/or the writer accepts no liability or responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.