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Divorcing In Later Life – But What About My Finances?

Couple resting hands on table oposite legal documents and wedding rings. Divorce papers

It’s an unfortunate fact that divorce rates have been on the rise over recent years, however, what’s surprising is the fact that the number of couples divorcing over 65 is also on the rise.

The figures point to the fact that divorce can happen at any time in life, and while the idyllic scenario is growing old together, this may not always be possible or wanted. A downside of a generation living longer is that we have longer to grow apart. 

Recent research carried out by Austin Lafferty Solicitors shows that 39% of UK adults who are either married or in a civil partnership would be worried about their financial security in later life, should they go through a divorce. This could include anything from savings to pensions and how other assets such as art and wine would be divided between them and their partner.

Furthermore, of these, 69% may reconsider or even delay their decision to divorce or dissolve a partnership as a result of these concerns.

Does age have an impact on divorce proceedings?

From a strictly legal perspective, there are no additional issues to getting divorced in later life that you wouldn’t encounter should you get divorced at a younger age. The proceedings are exactly the same no matter what your age. However, one issue that can arise is separating finances. Typically, those getting divorced at an older age will have been married for a longer period of time, therefore, all aspects of their life, including finances, have become entwined. 

Later life divorce and financial commitments

While at any stage of life it’s important that both parties have financial independence should a divorce take place, this is especially true in later life where individuals may not have the time or desire to go back into employment. Furthermore, health implications may restrict certain aspects of working life. 

If a divorce is on the horizon, we would recommend discussing the following points before approaching a divorce solicitor to help save time and money:

  1. Gather valuations of all assets and accounts, both joint and individual, to paint a full picture of your joint financial position.
  2. If required, get financial valuations or statements on the predicted future value of assets that are expected to mature at a later date. 
  3. Family homes are often a sticking point in divorces, meaning it’s crucial to discuss if either party wants to remain in the property and if they are able to afford to do so when their assets and income are halved.
  4. All current debts also need to be considered meaning it’s important to have printed evidence of outstanding loans, mortgages, credit card balances etc.
  5. While children may be older and less dependent on their parents, that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed. Are there university fees to consider? Were you planning to gift a mortgage deposit? Are you a guarantor on their mortgage?
  6. Realistically, how much do you need to live each month? Take time to work out what to budget for once you have separated, this needs to include everyday expenses as potential savings for larger items such as buying a car, or going on holiday.
  7. Having conversations with close family members or children before appointing a divorce solicitor will help you to understand their concerns and factor them into your decisions and negotiations. 

Unfortunately, all divorce proceeds are complicated and come with a certain level of stress, no matter the stage of life at which they occur. For couples who choose to divorce in later life seeking expert help and advice will help to smooth the process and ensure they can live their life with the knowledge that they have financial security. 

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