Newcastle’s Top Divorce and Family Law Specialist, Joanne Major comments divorce statistics produced by the ONS show that whilst the overall number of people getting divorce each year has continued to decrease since the 1990s, the number of people aged 60 years and over has risen significantly during this period. The current figures for divorcing couples in this age category show an increase of 73% compared to the figures in 1991.
There are a number of explanations for the increase, not least due to the increasing rise of people aged 60 and older living in England and Wales. Increased life expectancy would tend to show that marriages are now more likely to end in divorce and less likely to end by the death of a spouse than in 1991. Women have also become less dependent, particularly financially, on their husbands and divorce no longer has the stigma attached to it which it once did.
As with any marital breakdown, it is sad for a couple to part ways and particularly those who have spent so many years together. It is no longer uncommon though and given that children may have left the family roost and in times of increasing good health and life expectations in old age it is unsurprising.
Whilst it is important for any separating couple to obtain independent legal advice, it is especially true for older married couples given the complexities which may arise with regards to claims on potentially highly valuable pensions and future inheritance issues.