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The 40 Year Itch

The 40 Year Itch

Divorce rate for the over 65's has doubled in the last decade.
This week, the headlines caught our attention following the publication of the 2011 Census, which highlighted that the divorce rate among the over 65s has doubled in a decade. This group have often been referred to in the media as the "Silver Splitters."

Whilst the news of any marriage breaking up is undoubtedly sad, it is perhaps even more so when a couple, who have been together for decades, announce their intention to divorce. So why are more people deciding to divorce later in life?

One reason may simply be due to the fact that people tend to live for longer nowadays thanks to advances in medical technology, meaning that people can live healthier for longer. As such, is it perhaps unrealistic to expect these couples to remain together for over 50 years?

In addition, often once their own children have grown up and left the family home, and indeed have started families of their own, this can prompt a change in the dynamic of the family home which can often leave couples to question whether they wish to remain together. This phenomenon has been dubbed as "empty nest syndrome" in the press.

Further down the line, when the prospect of retirement looms before them, is it perhaps the reality of spending every day with their respective spouse which can spell 'make or break' time for a couple.

In the older generation there can sometimes be a trend that is in fact the female who initiates the divorce after a lengthy period of marriage. That can often be where in the relationship they have assumed more traditional roles where the husband has generally been the breadwinner and in control of the finances and the woman feels that she would like greater independence at a later stage in her life. This may come after a period of retraining or a career change at a later stage and perhaps simply having a different view of the world than they did in their early 20s when they got married.

For others, they may witness close friends going through a divorce and gain confidence from seeing them thrive in their new independent state. That could often be the boost that is needed for them to embark upon their own divorce if it is something that they had been considering for a number of years but perhaps did not have the courage to do before then.

Or, for some, it may be that over such a long period of time the couples simply become friends and mutually decide that it is time to go their separate ways.

Whatever the reason, divorce is a difficult time at whatever age and it is just as important to obtain advice and support in order to help you through it.

Amanda Wilson is a specialist Family Law Solicitor. We are always delighted to talk without obligation about whether we might meet your needs. Call Amanda on 01382 229111 or email

Posted by Amanda Wilson


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