These days there are an increasing number of older couples who are divorcing and these “silver” divorcees no doubt are a demonstration of a population which is living longer. Historically it has been said that the older generations have variously been more willing to put up with more and to try to work at their marriage, but this seems less true now.
Such divorces present a particular challenge for the parties and a slightly different set of factors for their solicitors to consider.
From the parties’ perspective, quite aside from the uncertainty involved in taking this step in later life, they may have to consider:-
- Whether divorce is really the right option for them, if they may not be contemplating remarriage and hence a less final form of separation may be better and indeed may have certain tax advantages.
- Income constraints, particularly where pensions are already in payment and there is less/no scope for alternative income streams.
- Reduced mortgage/borrowing capacity, although equity release can be an option.
- Care needs in later life.
- Issues concerning mental capacity and the ability to give clear instructions.
However some of the factors to consider will remain the same:-
- The need to try to provide for two homes despite fixed income and other assets.
- Children issues, particularly where the parties may be in a second or third marriage and there are different family units/groups to consider, who in turn may be anxious to protect what they see as their inheritance.
- Legal costs.
All parties to disputes (whether matrimonial, family or otherwise) must try to resolve their differences without going to Court. If attempts to negotiate a financial settlement fail, the parties must attempt mediation and it may be that older couples are more willing to, in part because they may be coming out of longer relationships.
Once the children have flown the nest and with retirement on the horizon or already achieved, the parties are going to potentially be spending a long (and these days increasingly healthy) period together, which will not be an enticing prospect where there is marital discord.
Taking all these factors into account means that lawyers need to be creative in how they deal with the issues the older client raises and, amongst other things, ensure that relationships with children and wider family groupings are not lost, initially, during what will be a difficult time and later on when the client is rebuilding his or her life.
Contact our skilled team of family lawyers
Bray & Bray’s team of family lawyers are skilled at analysing a person’s needs and achieving these on an affordable basis and with as little disruption as possible. For advice about divorce or any issue relating to family law, contact a member of the family law team at any of the offices below.