The number divorces involving people aged 60 and over has risen dramatically in the last decade.
According to a report by think tank the International Longevity Centre UK (ILC-UK), there was an 85 per cent rise in so-called ‘grey divorce’ between 1990 and 2012.
The numbers of such “silver separators” would continue to rise, they predicted. By 2037, one in every ten people going through a divorce in the UK, approximately 22,000 in total, will be over 60 years-old, they claimed. This represents a further 41 per cent rise over 2012 levels. These predictions were based on current marriage and divorce rates.
ILC-UK suggested that one reason for such a surge could be the rise in employment among women, who are becoming more financially independent as their employment level rises.
Another possible reason put forward was that as people are living longer, more marriages are likely end in divorce rather than the death of a spouse. They also suggested that it could be as simple as the changing social attitudes to divorce.
The rise in elderly divorce could pave the way for other problems, Ben Franklin of ILC-UK warned. He claimed that the increasing divorce rate “might result in greater isolation, illness and a need for more formal care”.
In addition, he said that, as divorce is often unexpected, many elderly people going through it could “find themselves in very difficult financial circumstances”.