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"Grey Divorces" as they have been tagged, have been on the rise since 1990. According to the Office for National Statistics, a staggering 1.3 million people over the age of 60 are now divorced. Divorce in general is on the decline since a record 165,000 divorces were recorded in 1993. In 2011, the last year that figures were available, this has dropped to 118,000. However, this includes 9500 men aged 60 or older which shows an increase of 73% from the early nineties. It doesn't include as many women. Firstly the figures for men are higher as many men tend to be older than the women in relationships of people of this generation. Secondly, women are likely to lose out financially due to lower earnings over their lifetime and therefore a lower pension. It still shows an increase in women over 60 getting a divorce in 2011 at 5800, which is up from 3200 in 1993.
So why is this?
Firstly, those born just after the Second World War were the last generation to jump straight into marriage before co-habitation became an acceptable feature of modern day living. Secondly, the 'Baby Boomer' generation is commonly known to be the wealthiest demographic to have ever lived. Previous generations had only a certain life expectancy after retirement but, with increased disposable income allied to longer retirement years, many are forging a new life for themselves after the age of 60. The increase in population of women over 60, many of whom are within the first generation of their gender to have had a lifetime of full time employment resulting in increased financial independence, may well be another reason.
An ageing population definitely contributes to the figures mentioned above but, the gradual loss of stigma associated with divorce, has combined to ensure that these figures are rocketing.
The trend has become so alarming that in 2014, Ruth Sutherland from Relate has called for a government think tank to co-ordinate a strategy for healthy relationships amongst our senior citizens, just as they have for health or financial concerns in later life.
It is certainly a trend that is on the rise.
For further information and advice on this issue, and other family law issues, please contact us for a free initial consultation on 01992 306 616 or 0207 956 2740 or email us.Back to Law Articles