We wrote recently about the increase in the number of people of mature years who are divorcing: let’s call them the “silver splitters”. There are many consequences of such changes, some of which may not be contemplated in advance by those seeking a change in their lives.
Nationwide Mortgages has recently published results of some wide ranging research, which are revealing.
The headlines show:-
66% of those splitting up reported being worse off financially
In 25% of cases the family home had been sold
33% said that the change had given them a new lease of life, including travel, career change and a new relationship
Who is involved?
The latest annual figures (from 2014) show that there were 130,743 divorces
Of those, 60,400 were over the age of 50
52% of the over fifties divorcing had been married for more than 20 years
What were the main reasons for the divorce?
34% of those divorcing gave the main reason as a relationship with a new partner
25% said that they had “grown apart”
15% said that it was their partner’s decision to separate
What were the financial consequences
As indicated above, in 25% of cases the family home had been sold
Where the family home was sold, the majority moved into smaller accommodation
Nearly 10% of those separating moved into rented accommodation
In 42% of cases the value of the house was split equally (even where the house did not have to be sold but an adjustment was made from other assets)
In 25% of cases there was a split of other assets (in a surprising 75% of cases, one partner taking or receiving nothing)
What were the financial consequences of the divorce?
58% of those who surveyed reported that the separation had left them worse off
Of those 58%, half found that they were struggling financially after the divorce (31% of them being women and 23% men)
15% were better off (18% of those being men and 13% women)
What effects did the separation have on the family?
Almost half found that little changed and they had continuing relationships with, for example, children and grandchildren
However, 36% of men and 12% of women saw less of their children after divorce
A surprising one in seven divorcers saw their children and grandchildren more after divorce
An unsurprising 51% of men lost contact with their former partner’s family and 30% did not see joint friends.
Is there any good news?
52% of man and 28% of women met a new partner after the divorce
36% of those over 50 who divorced said that they had been given a “new lease of life” by the change
35% (many more women than men) said that they had started to travel with a friend
After a divorce, it is women who are far more likely to travel, get a job or enrol on a course, which they would not have done previously
And 55% of respondents said they were “happier” after the divorce
It should be remembered that these figures are merely a snapshot, and it is impossible to identify the socio-economic groupings of those who were questioned.
However, it does appear that women fare less well economically after a divorce in later life but are more amenable to change and adaptation.
In the end, of course, those seeking a separation at this later stage of life must decide whether any perceived short-term gains will last in the longer term.