Although national statistics show a decrease in the overall numbers of divorce in the UK, there’s one demographic in which the rate of divorce is consistently increasing. Figures from the ONS show that divorce rates are at the lowest in 40 years, except in those over 50, who are now being dubbed the ‘silver-splitters’. In 2013 a shocking 60,400 people in the over 50s demographic divorced, showing an eleven per cent rise over the past decade. So why is divorce becoming so prevalent among the over 50s? There are multiple answers to that so let’s take a look.
Increased life expectancy has a part to play as increasingly more focus is being put on to later life and the quality of life to be enjoyed in later years. A new zest for later life can cause issues for example when one half of a couple want to go travelling or for a late life gap year whilst the other wants to stay home. Issues such as these may be common where two people have an age gap. When you’re younger, age gaps aren’t so important in defining the relationship. However, as you age a ten year age gap can make a huge difference to your day to day life for example how active you are and what type of hobbies you choose to pursue. It could be that one person is unable to be physically active whilst the other enjoys outdoor pursuits. This can lead to a couple drifting apart and finding they have increasingly less in common.
Quite often married couples stay together for their children. Into later life, as children grow up and move out of the family home, some couples find that the bond connecting them in family life has been lost. The loss of the family dynamic and routine may lead to relationships fracturing and divorce becoming a more viable option than ever before. Further to this, big changes to lifestyle such as retirement brings, can lead to couples who used to spend a few hours a day together being under each other’s feet 24/7, adding further strain.
Another factor is changing social attitudes towards divorce. As our society becomes more progressive, divorce has become less taboo and it is common for there to be little or no stigma attached to a couple’s decision to divorce. This is in stark contrast to the attitudes held when many older couples first took their marriage vows. Another factor, which contributes to increased divorce rates, is the increasing equality between men and women. Studies show that women are increasingly likely to enjoy financial independence from their partner, allowing a freedom to leave which may not have existed in previous years.
Divorce can be an overwhelming and emotional experience but it can lead to a happier, healthier life for both parties. If you are divorcing or thinking of divorcing your partner, call today and make an appointment with one of our specialist family solicitors.