Till death do us part? You must be joking, I’m off, say the silver splitters

Sarah Wright, Partner, Shakespeares.
Sarah Wright, Partner, Shakespeares.

The traditional marriage vow to stay together to the grave is being shattered by a skyrocketing divorce rate among the over 60s.

That’s the finding of a team of family law solicitors in Milton Keynes who say people dubbed the “silver splitters” are finding there is more to life than joining the beige brigade.

The increase is dramatic - up by in the region of 75 per cent in 20 years.

Sarah Wright, a partner in the family law team at Shakespeares, which has offices in Milton Keynes and Newport Pagnell, says people are living longer, are from a generation with final salary pensions, and want to see the world. If a partner disagrees, it can be the end.

She said: “Health and longevity are improved, and as a consequence, so too is a zest for life.

“In this age bracket, at present, a couple often has the financial means to employ and enjoy that zest - a case of “have final salary pension, will travel”.

“The internet has made our world smaller. The opportunities it presents all the more tangible, and of course the “silver surfers” have both the time and means to explore those opportunities - be it foreign travel, or a trip down memory lane via “Friends Reunited” and similar.

“Bluntly, it could be said there is a sense that there is more to life than falling into step with the “Beige Brigade”. We also know of instances where the children support the decision to divorce, believing that one parent may have a better life without the other.”

People generally are now far more willing to challenge their pre-destined “lot” in life and, whilst the older generation has stereotypically been prepared to “put up and shut up”, this is no longer the case, she added.

But she added that the “The rise of the “silver splitters” is likely to peak and tail off as the baby-boomer generation passes. The next generation of 60-somethings will not be so financially comfortable and the one after even less so. This means the need to focus upon the financial impact of separating and divorcing will become far more instrumental in the decision to split - in common with the younger couples we see today, who are only too aware that two can live together more cheaply than one.”