Article published in North East Times

More people over 60 are divorcing than any other social group.

You may consider divorce over 60 as indicative of social decline leading to loneliness after a lifetime of commitment and undermining the very idea of marriage and family.  On the other hand for many it is chance to escape an unhappy marriage and begin anew.  Whatever view you take, there is no getting away from it – age is an ever increasing factor in divorce. 

The latest statistics tell us that the only group where divorce is on the rise is the over 60’s.  In 2009 over 11,500 divorces were recorded in this category.  A rise of 4% over 2 years compared to a fall generally.  This new social phenomenon has coined the phrase ‘the silver separators’.  Children of this group have their own label too A.C.O.D’s – adult children of divorce. 

With this social change comes growing recognition that divorce at this age brings its own unique emotional and financial consequences.   At this age many people have been married twice or more, and assets are complex.  The group SAGA have acknowledged this growing pattern and advise their members to seek legal and financial guidance.

Specialist legal advice is essential in dealing with the following issues, to name a few:-

1. Have you provided for your adult children and protected their inheritance?

2. Are you prepared to carve up the pensions?

3. Is there enough income to meet both parties’ needs? 

4. Have you considered the impact of changing health on division?

5. Have you protected your assets before starting a new relationship?

Understandably you don’t want to be ‘taught how to suck eggs’ but family law is specialist.  The case to case discretion of English matrimonial law makes outcomes uncertain and requires proper guidance. 

A client Mrs Y told us;
“I have been married twice before and I am now in the process of divorcing my third husband.  This has been the hardest divorce of the three.  We were married in our late forties at which time I had amassed savings which I hoped to use in my retirement and provide for my grandchildren, but naively I helped my third husband by repaying significant debts in his sole name and we are now fighting over the remaining capital.  In retrospect I wish I had taken advice at the beginning of the relationship about protecting my assets”. 

Henry Ford said You are never too old to learn, and that; “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. “If your marriage has failed, at whatever age, make sure your new beginning is a step forward.

Written by Joanne Bridget Hall, Associate Solicitor at Major Family Law, Ponteland, NE20 9SU. T: 01661 82 45 82 W: Twitter@1JoHall.