The ‘silver splitters surge’ refers to the increase in recent years of over-60s divorcing.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last year showed that the number of over-60s getting divorced had almost doubled within a decade in England and Wales. While the average couple has been married for 11.5 years before getting divorced over-60s have been together an average of 30 years. So why has there been an upward trend in ‘til death do us part’ becoming ‘til retirement do us part’?
One explanation provided by the ONS states that the rise in life expectancy means more people question whether they really want to grow old together. Other possible explanations for the rise in silver splitters are that the attitude to divorce is now more relaxed in comparison with past generations, there is now greater financial independence among women and that one partner may desire to travel the world later in life but the other partner has no such wishes.
‘Empty nest syndrome’ could also play a part. As children move out and the couple sends more time together they realise that they have fallen out of love and have less in common with each other than they previously did. A difference that family law solicitors have noticed with over-60s divorcing is that adult children sometimes involve themselves and emotions can be more heightened as they come to terms with their parents getting divorced.
Interestingly the figures show that men over 60 are as likely to file for divorce as women, a marked contrast to other age groups where it is predominantly females who file for divorce. It has been suggested that this could be a result of unhappily married men waiting until they felt they had completed their promise to provide for their family before starting divorce proceedings.
Whatever your age the divorce procedure and dealing with matrimonial disputes is the same. When a couple decides to divorce they need to know now it will impact them financially. Ideally with matrimonial assets the starting point is a 50:50 division, although there may be reasons to deviate from that. As well as deciding what share each spouse gets decisions have to be made about what happens to the assets. For instance should they be sold or should they be shared between the parties?