The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that people aged between 45 to 74 are the individuals experiencing the most solitary life in terms of living arrangements. It is said by family practitioners that this is due to an increase in the number of divorces amongst the older generation, commonly known as ‘silver splitters’.
Actually, it does not come as much surprise to us that the number of divorcing couples over the age of 55 has doubled this year. Indeed, some three years ago we were commenting on the very same circumstances and that of ‘silver splitters’ which we covered in our article which can be found here.
In that article, we discussed some of the reasons why couples may choose to divorce later in life, perhaps a contributory factor as to why we are seeing increased numbers of those living alone in their elder years. Some of these points discussed were as follows:
- Divorce does not carry the stigma it once did. This change in societal attitudes means the over-60s are more likely to divorce than the previous generation;
- As we experience longer life expectancies, some people question why they should have to spend the remaining 20 or 30 years of their lives in an unhappy marriage;
- Divorcing later in life means that, to an extent, the children of the relationship can be shielded from the effects of family breakdown, as they will inevitably be older and may have flown the nest. Couples therefore no longer feel the pressure to ‘stay together for the sake of the kids’; and
- Women in particular have become more financially independent, so they may feel more able to ‘go it alone’ as they are no longer reliant on their spouse for financial support.
That being said, whilst we are seeing more divorcing couples from older generations, in turn, we are seeing an increase in the number of older couples wishing to re-marry who come to us for advice in connection with obtaining a pre-nuptial agreement. This is an interesting concept and one which perhaps indicates that older couples may have been deterred from re-marrying in order to protect their wealth and the inheritance of their children. Many people re-marrying wish to have some financial security, which can often be found through the means of a pre-nuptial agreement.
Here at Family Law in Partnership we provide advice at both ends of the spectrum: for individuals who are about to embark upon married life or, those who are wishing to bring an end to their marriage. Our aim is to make the family change experience better so our clients can successfully move forward with their lives whether this be together or apart, no matter what your age.