Is the thirty-year itch becoming the new seven-year itch?

This week 82 year old astronaut Buzz Aldrin – the second person to walk on the moon – called time on his marriage to Lois Driggs Cannon after 23 years together.

Mr Aldrin is not alone in divorcing late in life.  According to recent figures from the Office of National Statistics more and more people in their 60s are walking away from their partners.

Retirement is supposed to be a time for relaxation, travel and spending quality time with grandchildren. Sadly for increasing numbers of people, it signals the end of a marriage and the prospect of spending their dotage alone – and often financially challenged.

So what are the prospects for ‘silver separators‘ facing divorce? If you find yourself in this position, here are some things to consider:

  • One partner often manages the financial affairs of the house – this is particularly the case with older couples.  So when it comes to separation, many people do now know how much they own or owe. It is important to try and get to grips with your household finances before the divorce.  In circumstance where the divorce is started by the other spouse full details can be established at that time so all is not lost.
  • Silver separators may well have paid off their mortgage  –  although this means more equity to divide between the couple,  they may both have to settle for a smaller property going forward.
  • One party will have built up a healthy pension, while the other – usually the wife – stayed at home to bring up children.  If you’re in that position make sure that you make a claim to a share of the pension so that you have enough income for your twilight years.
  • If one or both partners ends up re-marrying or cohabiting there is a need to ensure that the family assets are properly protected.
  • Re-visit your will. Any will made prior to the divorce will be invalid in respect of any gift to the spouse once the divorce is granted.

Why do you think more people are divorcing later in life? Do you have any tips for those that find themselves alone after spending many decades with a partner? Let us know with a comment below, e-mail us, or send us a tweet @HelpWithDivorce.

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