Gone are the times when people retire, draw their pension and sit in their arm chair, smoking a pipe and waiting for inevitable decline. With advances in modern medicine, increase in life expectancy and dramatic change in attitudes, hitting retirement no longer means an end, it means a beginning.
The rise in ‘silver divorcees’ is a new phenomenon associated with this societal change. When people hit their late 50s or early 60s they divorce their spouse of many, many years. After raising a family together, they see their retirement as a chance for reinvention and the last chance for some fun and happiness. However, there are some things that you should consider before stepping out into the brave unknown in later life.
The chances are that you have a stable home and a good amount of savings with your spouse and you will have become accustomed to this lifestyle. Are you prepared for splitting that in half? Do you have enough of a pension to live on and does your spouse? Spousal support agreements are not always straightforward so you may end up with no support, or having to pay your ex a substantial amount of your pension, along with losing your family home. Are you prepared for this?
Old habits die hard
By a certain age you will have developed certain habits and so will your spouse. You will have learned to live with these habits, but what about any new spouse? As we age our tolerance levels decrease and while you may be fantasising about your long lost love, or your new beau, the realities of cohabiting with someone new in later life don’t always match the fantasy.
Young people can choose to date people with ‘no baggage’ but no self-respecting person hits retirement without at least some responsibilities. Just because your children are now adults it doesn’t mean that they will give you an easy ride. Friendships may also be damaged by the split as well.
Adult children may not take to any new partner and family events such as weddings and new babies can become tainted for everyone. You need to think about how your family and friendships will be affected and if the upheaval will be worth it.
A chance of happiness
As terrifying as all the downsides are for a later life divorce, if your marriage has been stale for many years, or even decades, a divorce could be your chance for many future years of happiness. Speak to a family lawyer to find out the best approach to divorce and asset splitting and to find out more about the process, so you have all the information you need to go ahead and start your new life.