The number of people divorcing aged 60 or over in the UK is increasing, according to a new report by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK)
The study, conducted by the think tank, found that from 1990 to 2012, the number of men and women experiencing divorce aged 60 or above increased by over 85 per cent.
Based on these trends in marriage and divorce rates, the total number of people over the age of 60 experiencing divorce will increase from 15,700 in 2012, to over 22,000 by 2037 – a further 41 per cent rise.
This latest research shows that while divorce rates among the UK’s general population continue to fall, the percentage of those experienced by people over 60 has been steadily increasing.
The ILC-UK has put this rise in divorce down to several factors. Firstly, with people choosing to marry or remarry later in life, many are finding themselves more exposed to the risk of divorce at older ages because their marriage was still relatively fresh.
Secondly, it found that rising levels of employment amongst women meant many were now more financially independent and no longer relied upon their spouse to provide income through work.
Thirdly, there has been a big change in social attitudes towards divorce and while it may have once been a controversial decision to divorce, now it is considered quite common.
The ILC-UK report said that the final factor was the increase in life expectancy, meaning that more marriages were likely to end in divorce rather than the death of a spouse.
Previous studies have shown that divorce in later life can be tougher for individuals who may struggle to re-establish themselves financially or might experience social exclusion among an increasingly small group of friends.