Over 50s splits on the rise as divorce figures drop

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Figures released in the run-up to Christmas about divorce in the UK seem to have been missed by much of the media, and it seems now is a good time to talk about them in more detail.

The findings released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that many couples could be waiting for their children to grow up and leave home before parting ways, with the over-50s the only age group in which splits are rising.

The data shows the number of divorces in England and Wales has decreased and only this notable age group showing an increase.

The figures, which are for 2013, have been compared with those for 2003, and as divorce experts here in the Fens we believe it makes newsworthy analysis.

According to the ONS, there has been a trend towards the group with the highest rates getting older in recent years, with the 40 to 44 age bracket currently seeing the most divorces.

As family lawyers, we at Bowsers believe that putting parental duties first to provide stability is probably the reason.

This usually occurs when children have left home, and given the longer lives that most of us enjoy now, we are seeing divorce rates increase in later middle age.

This trend is now widely acknowledged with people in difficult relationships not wanting to spend possibly over 30 years in the same predicament. The latest statistics continue the general decrease in the divorce rate since 2004 with rates now broadly similar to those in the 1970s.

The key points include a decrease in divorces of 2.9% from 2012 to 2013, with the average length of a marriage at divorce now 11.7 years – with the average age of divorce at 45 years for men and 42 years for women.

No new statistics have been released for marriages that end in divorce, so the official proportion remains at the 42% figure last calculated almost five years ago.

Of course, figures like this make interesting reading, but fail to capture the tales of misery associated with divorce.

It still remains a traumatic ordeal for most and as legal experts we can only say if you are in the unfortunate situation of being in the midst of a marriage breakdown we strongly suggest expert help is sought as soon as possible.