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Feature – ‘til retirement do us part

Divorce in later life is sadly a modern day reality with recent official statistics showing a rise in marriage breakdowns in the over 60s.

Societal changes can be partly blamed for this as in previous generations, financial dependency formed some of the glue which arguably kept some couples together but this is no longer the case with men and women now enjoying relatively equal independence and opportunities.

Individuals are now less likely to remain in an unhappy situation due to financial constraints and divorce has lost the stigma it previously had so both men and women are biting the bullet and deciding to file for divorce if their relationship isn’t working.

Interestingly, figures published by the Office of National Statistics show that more women than men lead divorce proceedings up to the age of 40 when it balances out between the sexes but then more men than women issue divorce proceedings from aged 45 onwards. The most significant difference is seen after the age of 60 with 60% more men issuing divorce proceedings than women.

Individuals, young or old, who have reached the point of no return can cite a number of reasons for their decision to divorce their partner however, these largely fall under three key areas; finances, lack of communication and lifestyle differences.

A couple’s financial situation can place a significant strain on the relationship if there are mounting debts for example or difficulties in maintaining a certain level of lifestyle that they have both become accustomed to. The recent recession may be one of the reasons behind the rise in the number of divorces in England and Wales during the past two years.

A shared approach to how money is managed can go a long way in keeping couples together during times of difficulty and can range from agreeing on how much is spent on day to day living expenses to the amount to be put away for savings or how much is spent on gifts for children and grandchildren. A fundamental difference in the attitude towards how to manage joint or separate finances can often create cracks in relationships which can become too great to overcome.

Lack of communication and not getting enough attention from a partner can be another factor which can motivate one party to move towards dissolving the marriage. Talking and sharing interests and quality time are a recipe for a happy marriage but couples who have been together for a long time can sometimes neglect this and start to take their partner for granted. As marriage isn’t necessarily forever these days, putting effort into a relationship is as vital after many years together as it is during the honeymoon period.

How a couple prefer to spend their spare time can cause problems if for example, one of the parties enjoys a busy social life while the other likes quieter times at home or just with family. While differences can prove to strengthen some marriages, this is a common reason for divorce causing some couples to grow apart.

Linder Myers’ family team provides a range of options for divorcing couples to help make divorce less costly, both on the purse strings and emotions, including qualified arbitrators and collaborative law specialists to help resolve disputes and avoid going to Court.


Find out more about our Family department
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