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Silver Divorces: Are They on the Increase?

A silver lining with every dark cloud - Rayden Solicitors

I think all family law solicitors have noticed an increase in the age range for parties seeking a divorce. It is not unusual these days to have meetings with clients who have been married for many decades and are in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. 

Actually, the reason for this change is plainly societal. 

It used to be the case that turning 40 was an epic milestone in someone’s life and was the signifier of middle-age –  with an expectation to slip slowly into the Autumn and then Winter of your life with no further excitement or agitation anticipated.

That old trope has long since been dispelled.  The idea that someone who is in their 40s is now “past it” has been consigned to the social graveyard (along with Mother-in-Law jokes and crude Carry On style inuendo). 

The simple fact is people are better educated as to what they need to do to have a rich, successful and fulfilling life well into old age. This ranges from the physical – such as health, fitness and nutrition –  to the mental, with an expectation that life should still be rich and rewarding at any age and that there is a positive individual onus on parties to achieve this happiness and continued self-exploration.

One can see immediately that parties are, generally speaking, ‘aging’ much later in life.

Age is now seen very much as a number and with this in mind parties in their 60s are looking at their married life and wondering if, in the decades remaining to them, there is more to be achieved  (perhaps, with someone else). 

This more individualistic take can mean that, whatever the success of their married life has been, parties are now ready to move forward to fresh challenges without the husband of wife that they chose as perfect for them in their 20s. 

It is has always been the case that people change over time. The difference now is the freedom to explore that change and not feel constrained by choices made decades earlier. 

I often hear from my older clients that they are still very content with their marriage and their partner, but they have simply reached a point where that cycle has come to an end and they are ready for new experiences and challenges.

It is also my experience that often these later in life divorces are the least acrimonious. Parties have raised children together, have worked together and have achieved milestones between them. There is an acknowledgement that they both have more life in them, but they do not necessarily wish to share what is yet to come with each other. These are often the easiest of people to work with as they, to borrow an expression, ‘consciously un-couple’. 

It is also the case that some parties still keep growing as people while others do not. The more difficult silver surfer divorces are ones where one party has retained a youthful and vigorous outlook on life and the other has somehow ossified and doesn’t understand or accept the changes in the other party or the need for the other party to explore.

So, I think that  the recognition that people are living longer and healthier lives combined with an understanding of the entitlement to live your life to the full at whatever age, blended with the realisation that life choices made in earlier decades, may no longer be suitable mean that older parties are no longer afraid of moving forward into their life without the life partner they initially chose.

If you are considering divorce or separation, please do contact Rayden Solicitors to discuss your situation further.

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