I know this a topic we have visited a few times recently but a report last week gave a new take on it. The fact that more older people are getting divorces – silver separations or silver splitters as they have been dubbed – is not news.
More than 11,500 over-60s were granted a divorce in 2009 – a leap of 4 per cent in two years. By 2010, the latest figures available, the splitting 60s had shot up to 14,564.
We have previously debated what might be the cause of this, things like once the kids have gone a couple have nothing in common or older people deciding they do not want to spend their retirement years with someone they are not happy with. However, a new theory is suggesting the real reason behind the boom might be the fact that it is only when the kids have left home, the mortgage has been paid off and their outgoings reduce generally do people feel they can afford to go through the whole divorce process.
That is quite a jump though when you see that the theory is based on a recent survey which found a third of sixtysomethings believed their finances were in the best order they had ever been, compared with only 23 per cent of those in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. No direct link to divorce though.
I think it may be more to do with people actually having time to address issues which might have been troubling them for some years rather than just the finances, or any other single factor, but it is an ongoing concern that there is this perception that divorce is going to cost a fortune. Divorce doesn’t need to be expensive. It depends on how it is handled by all involved, including legal advisers. At Woolley & Co, solicitors we do uncontested divorces for a fixed fee of £1,255 which includes VAT and the court fees of £385, if you initiate the divorce. If you are on the receiving end of a divorce petition, the fixed fee is £600 including VAT (court fees covered by your spouse). By understanding the cost of divorce and what causes escalating costs you can keep them under control.
The single biggest thing you can do to keep down costs is to avoid going to a court hearing to settle any disputes if at all possible. Reaching an agreement with your soon-to-be-ex other half, without having to get the court involved to make a ruling on the areas where you disagree, will save time, money and heartache for all. The vast majority of our cases settle without the need to battle it out in court.
We would always advocate a conciliatory approach, however much a client may need to do it through gritted teeth. As well as costing more, getting the courts involved in thrashing out a settlement may end up leaving neither party with a result they think is right or fair, whatever age they may be.
Family solicitor, Norfolk