As the number of over 60s filing for divorce rising by almost three quarters in the last decade a leading expert speaks to the Mature Times about how to avoid excessive costs.
Figures reveal marriage break ups are yet another pressure affecting couples as they get older, and, with many pensioners living longer, divorce has begun to outweigh death as an end to relationships.
The dramatic increase, which saw nearly 9,500 men and 5,800 women, aged 60 and over divorce in 2011, is a stark contrast to other age groups, which have seen marriage break ups falling steadily.
The continued rise is thought to be linked to a loss in stigma surrounding break-ups later on in life, as well as a rise in the number of women who now work also contributing.
Lindsay Jones, head of family law at Ultimate Law Solicitors, said there were many common “trigger points” for divorce later on in life, including “empty nest syndrome”.
She said: “I see many common trigger points for divorce in older people and the main one is ‘empty nest syndrome’. “Their children have left home, got married and maybe have children of their own. They feel that their duty to stay together has come to an end.The one last thing they had in common – the children – no longer needs them.”
“A lot of my clients cite that they feel stifled or suffocated and have outgrown the marriage.
“However, many people do get sucked into the ‘romanticism’ of thinking that if they walk out of their marriage, a world of exotic travel and new love is just around the corner.
“Yes, this may be true for a small minority, but in reality, divorce at any age can be very stressful and lonely.”
The figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed there were 2.3 divorces per 1,000 married men in 2011, compared to just 1.6 in 1991. For women the facts were much the same, with 1.2 divorces per 1,000 married women aged 60 and over in 1991, rising to 1.6 in 2011.
For those wanting to get divorced Lindsay said: “When looking for your solicitor, speak to friends who have been divorced and ask their opinions on who they’d recommend.
“Perhaps see if the solicitor will offer a free initial consultation to check there is a rapport between the two of you. “For the coming months, your solicitor will be on speed dial and will know the most personal details of your family life – a suitable fit is a must!
“Ensure you check that the solicitor offers a transparent policy on costs and from the outset is able to explain the fees. “Clients should be in control and know when they will be charged, as well as understanding the various funding options available.”
by Laura Heads, Mature Times reporter