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Am I too old to get divorced?

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Am I too old to get divorced?

Lauren Power, Associate Solicitor and Head of Family Law at Rowlinsons Solicitors, takes a look at a question that has become more prevalent over the last few years.

The issue of divorcing later in life has been thrust into the spotlight with the announcement of the separation of Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, both 64 years old.

Making the decision that your marriage has come to an end is understandably one of the hardest decisions to make, which begs the question as to why more individuals over the age of 60 are now seeking the guidance of a family law specialist. These types of cases are often referred to as “silver divorces” or “silver splitters”. The first thing to note is that we do have an ageing population and ultimately people are living longer. Often retirement can provide a new lease of life and sadly some spouses find that they have a loss of connection with their spouse. By this time, the children of the family are typically leaving home and embarking on their own adult lives and therefore, spouses may feel that they no longer need to remain in the marriage to provide stability for the children.

When dealing with so called “silver divorces” there are several factors to be considered, notes Lauren. We need to look at the age of the parties and the length of the marriage as a starting point. Often the main assets to be dealt with in these types of cases are the family home and the parties’ pension funds which by the time of retirement, can often be significant. Is one party’s pension in payment or is the other spouse still working- how will this affect a financial settlement moving forward? At this point we would typically discuss with our clients the benefit in instructing a pension actuary to carry out a report, looking at how we can share any pensions or look to off-set against any other assets. These cases can also present difficulties when looking to divide up the assets as the parties will have less time to build up their financial position, if for example they don’t have many working years ahead of them. This can of course impact upon mortgage capacities and will need to be considered when dealing with the family home.

We also have situations whereby older people are marrying later on in life and may have brought significant assets into the marriage for it then to break down a few years later. In these cases we need to look at whether any such assets can be ringfenced.

To answer the question, there is no easy time to decide to divorce and no right or wrong age to divorce. There are just additional factors to be considered when spouses are approaching or have reached retirement age and for this reason, it is imperative that legal advice is sought at an early stage. For personal advice on divorce or any other family law matter please call 01928 735333 or email