How to advise those divorcing in their 60s

  • Identify how divorces among those in their 60s+ differ from others
  • Explain how to treat multiple properties among divorcing couples
  • Describe how the courts treat the split of assets
How to advise those divorcing in their 60s

The Office of National Statistics tells us that the over 60s is the fastest growing age group of divorcing couples.

They are often referred to as silver splitters.

The average length of marriage in divorces of opposite sex couples is 12 years and 6 months.

Unsurprisingly, the average length of marriage for opposite sex silver splitters is much higher, at around 32 years. 

So why might silver splitters divorce? 

Once children have left home, a married couple might begin to contemplate what their retirement will consist of with their spouse.

After a period of reflection, there may be a conclusion that greater happiness lies elsewhere.

With ever increasing life expectancy rates and better health patterns, there is the prospect of new horizons and perspectives which coincide with spending less time at work.

A divorcing client will often say that they had considered the marriage to be over for some time but had not mustered the energy to make the decision.

Rarely is the cause of divorce in this age group an adulterous relationship or a catastrophic demonstration of poor behaviour by either party.

The striking feature of such divorces is that they lack the combustible event that more frequently exists when couples divorce at an earlier age.

Without that underlying acrimony it is unremarkable that silver splitters remain protective of their spouses, having shared such a significant portion of their lives with them. 

Clients are often anxious about what their social landscape might look like post-divorce.

There is anxiety about loneliness, which party will continue to enjoy friendships previously shared and even where the loyalties of offspring might fall.

In addition, the obvious need to maximise the financial resources of these marriages causes further anxiety.

High value assets

After a long marriage there are often more assets of a higher value to divide.

However, there are fewer years ahead to generate assets or income.

The thought of the period of sharing and togetherness coming to an abrupt end can be utterly destabilising.

This is particularly so if one party has been guided by the other through an investment strategy for retirement.

How will a spouse who has delegated that strategy to the other, step out into the unknown world of financial planning?

In such circumstances, formal separation grounded upon cooperation which brings about an amicable solution is, therefore, almost priceless. 

What prospects are there of achieving a consensual outcome? 

If a person decides to divorce after a long marriage, it is inevitable that this will be a decision made after lengthy and careful reflection.

Sometimes, when one party breaks cover about their feelings and intention to divorce, it comes as something of a relief to the other who might not have been brave enough to take that step themselves.