Divorce Trends: Increases in Divorce Rate for those over 60 years

Divorce Statistics

As a Specialist Family Law and Divorce Solicitor, as well as a Family Mediator, I am always interested to read about changes to Divorce rates as well as other family law and divorce related statistics.

Older people divorcing

At the bottom of this piece is an Infographic  produced by the Office of National Statistics in August 2013

Perhaps the most interesting statistic is the increase in the number of divorces for both men and women aged 60+, since 1991. These statistics show an increase in divorces for this age group of around 70%

Reasons  for the rising divorce rates

Three reasons are given for the rising divorce rate for those aged 60+

Firstly, an increasing life expectancy means marriages are more likely to end in divorce

Secondly, it is suggested that there is a loss of stigma in divorce as there are more divorced people in the population

Finally, it is suggested that more women are working and so are more able to support themselves outside of marriage.

Taking into account the retirement ages of men and women, this must refer to women having worked during the marriage?

The average length of marriage ending in divorce

The graphic then asks about the average length of marriages which end in divorce for the over 60’s.

The largest number of divorces are for marriages which are 30 to 39 years duration. There are significant numbers of divorces where the marriages have lasted between 20 to 29 years and 40 to 49 years.

It is also noticeable that if added together the largest number of divorces are shorter marriages of between zero and 19 years duration.

Of course it is not possible to get divorced where the marriage has not lasted for one year. This aside, it would seem that the largest number of divorces for the over 60s are in those marriages where the couple were aged over 40 years when they married. In other words, the statistics support the notion that there are very significant numbers of divorces where the foundations of the marriage are not built upon setting up home and having children together. Many of these failed marriages will be ones where at least one of the couple is marrying for a second time(or more) and where the couple will have children from previous relationships.

Prenuptial Agreements

The Law commission has recently reported with recommendations for legislation to support a greater role for prenuptial agreements.

The law as it currently stands already places a good deal of weight upon prenuptial agreements and what is interesting from the statistics is what we practitioners already know is that many embark upon second or further marriages which will sadly fail; where the couple could have saved themselves a great deal of expense and stress had they entered into a properly negotiated prenuptial agreement prior to their wedding.

Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful where a couple have acquired wealth and indeed children during previous relationships and wish to protect both should their remarriage fail or indeed should they previously cease their new partner. We will return to this theme in future posts…

The ONS Infographic about older people and divorce

The Infographic below was produced by the Office of National Statistics in August 2013 and follows an analysis of datafrom the 2011 census. Click here to see the Infographic on the ONS Website

 

 

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