Later-life divorce

Is it ever too late to separate and on what grounds?

Going through a divorce can be a painful process whatever your age but separating later in life can be even more challenging. The over 50s are now twice as likely to divorce today compared to during the 1990s.  It is important that couples understand the implications of divorcing later in life.

Many cases of later life divorce will be the end of a long marriage. In those cases, the husband may have been the main breadwinner with the wife taking on the role of main child carer and homemaker. In these cases, the general principle of the court is that these contributions are equally valid, leading to an equal division of the assets, including pensions even if solely in the name of the husband.

For other couples, this could be the end of a second or subsequent marriage, usually shorter in length, and the division of assets can be more complicated. There may be numerous factors for the court to consider, for instance, the assets both parties brought to the relationship, dependent children of this and previous relationships and the future pension needs for both party. 

With so many issues to consider around divorce at whatever your age or stage of your life, it is best to take independent legal advice as early as possible, so you understand clearly your position and how to move forward to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Julie Hobson can be contacted at