The number of men and women experiencing divorce over the age of 60 has risen by more than 85 per cent — as more women are in full time employment.
A new study has found that 15,700 over 60s divorced their partners in 2012, up from around 8440 in 1990.
Researchers say that by 2037, this number would have risen to 22,000, a further 41 per cent rise.
They added that rising employment amongst women meant women no longer had to rely on their spouse to provide income, making walking away from marriages easier.
The study also explained that longer lifespans had played a part in higher separation rates, as more marriages were ending in divorce as opposed to the death of a spouse.
Ben Franklin, of the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK), who conducted the research, said that the higher rates were resulting in increased isolation.
He said: “A growing number of older people experiencing divorce presents significant challenges at an individual and societal level.
“Increasing divorce rates and numbers might result in greater isolation, illness and a need for more formal care.
“Individuals don’t expect to divorce so when it happens, many find themselves in very difficult financial circumstances.
“At any age it is vital that individuals seek out relationship support.
“The rising number of divorces amongst the over 60s is something that policymakers, charities and services providers should factor-in when considering the potential vulnerabilities facing older people.”
The new analysis suggests that while divorce rates in general have been declining, it has been increasing amongst the older generations.
Divorce rates for men in their middle to late 50s has also risen – increasing by more than 3 per 1000 marriages since 1982.
As well as longer life spans and women finding employment, researchers also cited late marriages as a reason for the increase.
They suggested that because people are marrying later in life, their marriages are still relatively fresh and older ages.
Richard Willets, Director of Longevity, added: “While divorce at any age is likely to be a painful experience, the older you are the more likely it is to have a negative impact on your health, wealth and general well-being.
“As separation is generally not something that people plan for, they are likely to need the support of their family and friends as well as potentially need more state assistance.
“Divorce in later life is therefore something that needs to be more fully understood and factored into Government planning going forward.”
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