Co-habiting over 60s on increase as changes in society hits all age groups

A huge increase in unmarried pensioners living together demonstrates that society’s changes are affecting all age groups, says one of the region’s leading law firms.

Catherine Hicklin, a family law expert at QualitySolictors Mander Cruickshank said the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show cohabiting among over 65s has almost doubled. In 2001, only 1.6 per cent lived with a partner but that number had jumped to 2.8 per cent by 2011.

In the same period, nine per cent of people in that age group had been divorced by 2011. However, in 2001, only 4.5 per cent had experienced what is deemed by the media as a silver divorce by that point.

“As a nation we are living longer and staying active, so people may also be more people interested in pursuing a new relationship than generations in the past were,” said Ms Hicklin.

“Over 60s divorcing is a trend likely to continue as people in that age group co-habit without feeling the need to re-marry,” she added.

The Office for National Statistics figures showed the number of over-60s divorces in England and Wales has been on the increase since the 1990s, contrasting with falling divorce rates in the rest of the population.

She added that part of the explanation was because of an ageing population there are older people than there were.

“They say 50 is the new 40 and this applies further up the age scale, where 70 is the the new 60,” said Ms Hicklin, whose firm have offices in both Coalville and Hinckley.

“Less stigma over being divorced than in the past, and more financial independence for women is also part of the reason for this change,” she added

In 1991, there were 1.6 divorces per 1,000 married men over 60, figures released by the ONS showed, but by 2011, the latest year for which figures are available, this had risen to 2.3.

There were 1.2 divorces per 1,000 married women over 60 in 1991, rising to 1.6 in 2011.

She added that many couples part because children have grown up and left home.

“It is sad but simply not uncommon in this era to see couples drift apart as a result of ’empty nest syndrome’, when their children have grown up and moved out of the family home,” she added.

She added that QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank is acutely aware of the sensitivities surrounding such splits.

“As very experienced family law specialists we are aware of the turmoil involved and can help bring about a solution best for all parties,” she added.

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