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What happens when older couples divorce?
They are known as the “diamond divorcees” and there are more of them than ever before. But what happens when older couples divorce?
In the past decade, the overall trend suggests there have been fewer divorces in the UK, except for those over 50. This is due to a number of factors; people are working later in life and have greater financial independence together with the lack of stigma that is now attached to divorce. Many couples are deciding to choose their own path once the children are no longer at home.
The issues that arise when older couples divorce are different to those faced by younger couples due to the larger assets that have typically been grown over the years both in property and investments but also in the size of pension pots.
The greater flexibility that now exists following the rules introduced in 2015 relating to pension freedoms will no doubt have given confidence to “diamond divorcees” that they have more choice to divide their assets and their pension pots are available earlier for distribution when previously they were locked away until retirement.
For any divorce, whether after a long or short marriage, the Court applies the same criteria when determining financial claims. However some factors will have more relevance to older divorcing couples than others such as the impact of pensions.
The starting point in considering any settlement is likely to be an equal split but the above factors may vary the shares that each party will receive once each particular case is considered on its own facts and merits.
Whilst the increasing number of divorces in later life may see a gloomy thought, what it does mean is that couples who are no longer happy together may feel more hopeful that they need not be trapped in a loveless marriage with no chance of financial independence.
The number of people over the age of 65 getting married in the UK is also on the rise according to ONS statistics. We have seen an increase in Pre-Nuptial Agreements for those over 65 to protect their assets, particularly if they have children from a previous relationship and wish to protect their inheritance.