Brits who annul their marriage in later life report feeling ‘relieved’, ‘excited’ and ‘more confident’ following their split, new research has shown.
The study of 1,153 divorcees aged 45 and over reveals an upbeat attitude among those who went their separate ways, often delaying their parting until after their adult children had flown the nest.
The results are revealed following a previous ONS report which found divorce rates in the UK are dropping in every age group but the over 50s.
If there was a time when ‘divorce’ was viewed as being socially unacceptable then, it seems, those times are changing. Contrary to their parents’ more traditional values, 98% of over 50s in the North East now agree that these days divorce isn’t the social taboo it might once have been.
Michael Vale, Family Law expert at QualitySolicitors, which commissioned the study, said, “So-called silver divorces have become a widely documented phenomenon – and the process can often be less volatile than in the younger age sectors.
“With ‘empty nest syndrome’ – a common reason for divorce in later years – often comes a mutual realisation that neither partner is happy.
“These days, embracing change in the search of personal happiness is more widely encouraged than ‘settling’, so people no longer feel obliged to stay together.
“They want to make the most out of life and not be held back in the pursuit of their life goals.”
So ‘seeking independence’ is undoubtedly a prime motivator for divorce – the poll found eight in ten had children to consider, who were typically 21 years of age when they flew the nest – and half those surveyed suggested that a difference in life interests was what began an irretrievable breakdown of their relationship.
It’s a fascinating, if subtle, demographic change. But if life is said to begin at 40, can freedom really begin at 50?
It might seem so; a substantial 93% of ‘over-50’ divorcees in the North East report new-found feelings of relief, excitement and confidence. And furthermore 67% said that they’ve already successfully put their divorce well and truly behind them and class it as ‘in the past’.
So all is rosy, then?
Of course, divorce must be considered with care. Despite them having flown the nest, how the children would cope was one of the biggest concerns for 56% of those living in the region - while the cost of the ordeal was the biggest shock for over half (56%).
You’ll also need good legal advice to agree on the best financial arrangements. New flexibility in pension rules will be a considerable advantage if you can plan correctly and, with increased life expectancy, a good pension fund (and how you manage it) is often a person’s most valuable family asset.
“Divorce is rarely a happy process,” add Michael Vale at QualitySolicitors, “But when the reasons for a separation are mature and considered, it can turn out well for both parties when the dust finally settles.”
One thing’s for sure: these days it seems almost everyone agrees that age needn’t be a factor when it comes to personal happiness.
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Notes to Editors
The Divorce Drivers research was conducted in December by One Poll and asked over 1,153 divorcees aged 45 and over for their views.
Further notes to support news copy
In the North East:
- Just under a third (27%) of respondents claimed to have remained firm friends with their ex-partner, with 67 per cent who said they consider any bad feeling surrounding the split to be ‘in the past’.
- 62 per cent claimed hitting middle-age highlighted what they were missing in life, with divorce being one of the first steps to finding happiness for around five in ten.
- Most seemed to have buried the hatchet with their former spouse, the majority still cited dealing with their ex as the most stressful aspect of finalising their divorce.
- A fifth of those polled confessed to throwing a ‘divorce party’ or treating themselves to a night on the town.
- Just under one in ten (9%) said social media played a role in the breakdown of their partnership – either due to flirting with others online or meeting someone new through Facebook.
- Launched in 2010, QualitySolicitors is a group of independent law firms across the country working as part of the QualitySolicitors brand. Only one firm per local area is selected to become a QualitySolicitors partner. Customer feedback forms an integral part of the selection process.
- QualitySolicitors lawyers are experts in their fields dealing with both consumer and SME legal matters. QualitySolicitors offer a personal, local service but with the assurance of a recognised national brand.
- QualitySolicitors’ CEO is Eddie Ross.
- Web address is www.qualitysolicitors.com
- In 2011 QualitySolicitors secured equity investment from Palamon Capital Partners, a private equity house with a £700m fund. In 2014 Palamon made further investments into the firm