I am delighted to post this guest blog from Pannone Solicitors on People divorcing in their 60’s:-

A couple that has been married for 20+ years might seem like a strong unit who would be able to weather most things. While this is true the majority of the time, there has been a recent and unexpected incline in the number of over 60’s who are getting divorced. So much so that it has led the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to look further into the trend, producing a short report on the matter.

The report highlights some key figures to give an insight into why an increasing amount of over 60’s now feel that divorce in later life is what they want. In fact, the numbers who are getting a divorce has increased by 73% since 1991. The figure hints towards a shift in the values of marriage. Previous generations saw it as slightly taboo to get a divorce, whereas the ‘baby-boomer’ generation brought along a shift in attitudes not only towards marriage but many different aspects of cultural and political outlooks. This gradual change can be seen to be affecting other end of the age range with an increasing number choosing not to marry in favour of simply ‘cohabiting’ – perhaps causing difficulties financially as discussed in an article by Manchester based solicitor Katy Stirling.

There have been different suggestions as to what might be causing this rise in divorces for the over 60’s. The ONS suggest that an initial contributing factor could be attributed to better life expectancies. In 1991, a 60 year old male would be expected on average to live for another 21 years, whereas in 2010 a 60 year old male could expect to live for another 26 years on average. The ONS point out that this increases the possibility of a marriage ending in divorce as opposed to through death of a spouse.

Further findings from the study show a markable difference in who initiates the divorce in comparison to divorces overall. Only a third of divorce applications were triggered by men in total, yet the male / female divide closes when regarding over 60’s to a largely even split to who initiates the divorce.

Of course there can only be generalisations as to what the factors are contributing towards ‘silver splitting’ as there are differences in each relationship. It should be suspected however that, as values continue to change from more traditional outlooks on marriage, those who are unhappy in theirs will take the ultimate and final step towards separation.