The most popular age to get divorced?

There were several articles in the press recently about the latest divorce figures suggesting that the only reported rise in the divorce rate is amongst the 60+ age range.  This doesn’t necessarily mean of course that this is the most popular age for divorce, merely that there is a new trend - the numbers of those over 65 getting divorced is certainly increasing but in my view the most common age for divorce remains mid-late 40’s. This may be because younger people have never married in the first place.  With short-term relationships or marriages there are often no children or few assets to argue over – it is only when there are children, pensions, property, mortgages and all the other aspects of aging and longer relationships that separation becomes more complicated. IMG_9769webSo why more divorces amongst the over 65?  Is this simply an aspect of us all living longer and having higher expectations of our retirement?  We are no longer prepared to simply settle down with our partner of the last 20-30 years.  We may decide that the prospect of possibly 20 years with your current partner and no work as a diversion is simply too much to bear. It can though come as a shock to anyone expecting to retire on a comfortable pension to suddenly find themselves faced with a Divorce Petition which will involve sharing that pension and possibly selling the matrimonial home and looking at either down-sizing or taking out a mortgage when you least expected it.  There are some advantages though to divorce so late - children are generally grown up, possibly even having left university, you are no longer responsible for them in any way, you no longer have to provide a ‘family home’ in the traditional sense.  But however old they may be, children still feel the impact and possible pain of their parents’ separation.  They may have left home but they would like the possibility of returning to what was their childhood home intact, and also what about the grandchildren? While the percentage of divorcees amongst the over 65’s is still relatively low, the rate of disengagement is growing fast. Divorce for the retired certainly has different aspects to a separation where there are young children, mortgages to pay and a career to establish – but similar principles apply.  Far better to separate constructively and collaboratively than incur unnecessary legal costs with stressful arguments through the courts.  One expenditure which is hard to avoid however, is an actuarial report.  Pensions obviously loom large in post-retirement separation and a proper actuarial value of your pension is essential.  You will not only want to look at its actual cash value, but also projected incomes going forward for both the male and the female - with their different life expectations they will need different pension pots to produce similar incomes.  Never has professional advice in relation to pensions been so important. For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.
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Kids at university – let’s get divorced

children walking togetherIt appears to be an ever increasing trend that people are divorcing later in life.  Known as the 'silver splitters', many first time divorcees are now over the age of sixty.  When children leave for university or leave home for other reasons, it often acts as a trigger for parents to re-evaluate their situation.  It is not uncommon to conclude that they do not want to spend the rest of their lives – which is now a longer period than ever - with the same person.  They would rather be on their own, even if poorer, than with someone from whom they have grown apart.  There is always the chance of meeting someone else as of course. As parents move on in their situation, their children too are also moving to a new situation.  If they are at university, this new situation can in fact be very daunting.  It is actually a time when children seek the reassurance of “home” more than ever, something to fall back on  when difficulties arise.  The security of their family, the familiar, their childhood home, constancy, is all suddenly threatened. A good friend of mine is a counsellor who works at a local university.  Many of her student clients have difficulty settling at university, not simply the trauma of leaving home for the first time, but the fact that this reawakened the effects of their parents’ separation in their childhood or more recently.  The sense of loss that children can feel if the family home is sold is often underestimated, particularly if they are deemed to be adults who have “left”.  It is a recognised fact that one trauma – leaving home - can merge with and be made worse by the reawakening of previous traumas. This is not to suggest that parents shouldn’t separate, but just to highlight the fact that children may need your support more, not less, at the time they leave home. Other issues are more important when dealing with divorce later on in life – pensions in particular – and if the parties are tempted to downsize, where will their children “come back to”? Older children will want to retain a good relationship with both parents and the family will need to work together to ensure that is the case.  Children will want the reassurance that they can still be close to both parents without upsetting either one and that both parents will be fully involved in their future life of weddings, grandchildren, etc. So, children leaving home may be a trigger to consider divorce or separation, but don’t forget that those children still need you as parents. For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.  
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