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Modern Challenges for the over 60’s

13 November

Modern Challenges for the over 60’s

person.jpg#asset:373:urlThere has been a great deal in the press recently about the fact that the number of divorces in the over 60's age group is rising, in contrast with falling divorce rates across the rest of the population.

Dubbed the “silver separators” by the media, there are many suggested reasons for this trend.  These include longer life expectancy, a loss of stigma over divorce, greater financial independence for women and the impact of retirement and “empty nest syndrome” when grown up children depart for university or move into their own homes.

It is thought that previously, there was an expectation that couples would stick together, but this is now changing.  The statistics state that marriages are now more likely to end in divorce than the death of a spouse.

The employment rate of women aged 16 to 64 rose to 66% in 2012, and this means that women are more likely to have built up their own pension provision and are better able to support themselves outside of marriage than in the past.  This, coupled with the major impact on the dynamic of a relationship caused by children leaving home and lengthy retirement periods looming, has contributed to a rise in people wanting to pursue other experiences.

Also of note is that statistically, there are more women than men petitioning for divorce in this age group.  It seems that when men reach their 60s they are more concerned with stability whereas women tend to find a sort of emancipation believing they have fulfilled their commitment to their families by this stage.

Specialist advice is important in all separations, but more so in this age group where the parties tend to be mortgage-free and focussing on the division of pensions and savings.  Since 2000, the Courts have used an equal division of assets as a starting point, and pension funds can now be split and equalised.  However, care and professional advice is needed in this extremely specialist area because comparing some pensions, with their different contributions and rights, is not comparing like for like.  Quite often, a specialist actuarial report will be required.

With a consequent rise in second marriages, pre-nuptial agreements are becoming more common in this age group, as well as inheritance planning to make sure children from previous marriages are properly provided for.

In these circumstances therefore, it is likely that parties will need not only specialist matrimonial advice but also specialist advice in amending their wills and inheritance planning.

For more information contact our family expert Demelza Wrigley on 0114 249 5969 or d.wrigley@bellbuxton.co.uk or our wills and inheritance expert Charles Neal on 0114 249 5969 or c.neal@bellbuxton.co.uk