43% said increasingly different interests caused irreparable rifts in their marriage
76% of ‘over-50’ divorcees report new-found feelings of relief, excitement and confidence
64% feel they have moved on successfully
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, 97% of over 50s now agree that these days divorce isn’t the social taboo it might once have been.
Michael Vale, Family Law expert, 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 over eight in ten had children to consider, who were typically 22 years of age when they flew the nest – and almost half of those polled (43%) 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 76% of ‘over-50’ divorcees report new-found feelings of relief, excitement and confidence. And furthermore 64% 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 the biggest worry for 39% of those polled – while the cost of the ordeal was the biggest shock for almost half (48%).
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, “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.
Notes to Editors
The research was conducted in November 2015 by One Poll and asked over 1,153 divorcees aged 45 and over for their views.
Further notes to support news copy
- Over a third of respondents claimed to have remained firm friends with their ex-partner, with 65 per cent who said they consider any bad feeling surrounding the split to be ‘in the past’.
- Over eight in ten ‘silver-splitters’ said that divorce has lost the taboo that it held for their parents’ generation.
- A fifth of those polled confessed to throwing a ‘divorce party’ or treating themselves to a night on the town.
- Finding their freedom was a prime motivator for divorce – the poll found over eight in ten had children to consider, who were typically 22 years of age when they flew the nest.
- One in eight claimed their marriage ended after the kids had moved out, with many claiming ‘empty nest syndrome’ was a key factor that led to splitting.
- Growing apart due to having different interests was what led 43 per cent to realise they were no longer compatible with their partner.
- One in twenty 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.
- One in ten who blame the internet for their break-up said the posts about the lives of others made them see that they weren’t happy.
- 63 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 four 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.
- Despite having flown the nest, how the children would cope was the biggest worry for 39 per cent – while the cost of the ordeal was the biggest shock for almost half (48 per cent).