Family barristers see over-60s divorce rate rise

Family barristers have generally seen a steady decline in divorces since the Divorce Reform Act was introduced in 1971, making it easier for married couples to legally separate.

In 1993, the highest number of divorces overall was recorded, at 165,000; by 2011, the most recent year for which complete figures have been compiled, 118,000 divorces were finalised in the 12-month period.

However, despite this steady decline in divorce rates in recent years, the number of couples separating aged in their 60s or above is increasing.

In 2011, almost 9,500 men aged 60 or over divorced – up by 73% since 1991; 5,800 women in the age group divorced, up 81% over the same period.

The ONS suggests that greater life expectancy may be partly involved in this, as there are literally more people in the age group than was the case in the past.

More women working later into their lives may also mean greater financial freedom, allowing more older women to divorce.

And a reduction in the social stigma of being divorced may be filtering through into the more mature age groups, helping more of them to feel confident about splitting from their spouse.

Whatever the reasons, family barristers can help to overcome the stress and vulnerabilities of divorcing late in life, allowing both parties to enjoy their remaining years in happiness and contentment.